May 7, 2019
As a member of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, Washington state is no stranger to leading on climate action. On Tuesday, May 7, Governor Jay Inslee reinforced the state’s commitment to fighting climate change and creating a low carbon economy by signing a historic package of clean energy legislation into law. The five bills that compose the package include:
- the nation’s strongest statewide policy to transition to 100% clean electricity;
- a first-in-the-nation energy standard for commercial buildings;
- a carefully designed phase down of super-polluting chemicals;
- appliance energy efficiency standards that will save consumers $2 billion on utility bills; and
- aggressive incentives to electrify cars and busses and transition the nation’s largest ferry fleet to electric and electric-hybrid.
Setting a path toward decarbonization across every sector of Washington’s economy, these policies represent the most aggressive step the state has ever taken to address climate change and move the needle 75% of the way toward meeting the state’s 2035 greenhouse gas emissions reduction limits.
Within the Pacific Coast Collaborative, Washington is working alongside British Columbia, California, and Oregon, and the cities of Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles to accelerate the transformation of energy systems, buildings, transportation, and food waste management to reduce emissions and achieve a shared vision of a vibrant, low-carbon economy. The PCC has active working groups where state staff collaborate on policy and program design, including working groups focused on decarbonizing building heating and cooling, expanding the use of electric vehicles and a connected network of charging infrastructure, and appliance energy efficiency codes and standards. Learn more about the PCC’s initiatives and commitments at http://pacificcoastcollaborative.org/initiatives/.
Congratulations to Washington for making these historic policy steps toward a clean energy future! The five bills of Washington’s Clean Energy Package are described in more detail below.
100% Clean Electricity (SB 5116)
This bill commits the state to transition to 100% clean electricity by 2045, and includes provisions to:
- Phase out all coal power by 2025
- Achieve a carbon-neutral electricity supply by 2030
- Incorporate the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions into energy resource selection
The law also supports investments in under-served communities and expands incentives for clean energy projects that meet strong labor standards.
Clean Buildings (HB 1257)
Targeting greenhouse gas emissions from the buildings sector, this bill expands investments in energy efficiency. It creates new incentives for large commercial buildings to reduce emissions and achieve energy standards that will take effect in 2028 for most buildings. It also requires utilities to expand incentives to customers to shift to renewable natural gas.
Super Polluting HFCs (HB 1112)
HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons, are used in air-conditioning, refrigeration, foam-blowing, fire retardants, solvents, and aerosols and are powerful contributors of atmospheric warming. The bill requires manufacturers to choose climate-safe alternatives for new equipment and follows EPA’s original plan to phase down HFC use in end-use products beginning in 2020. The action is part of a multi-state effort by the US Climate Alliance, which includes Oregon and California, and is consistent with the PCC commitment to establish a consistent approach for monitoring and reporting of short-lived climate pollutants.
Appliance Efficiency (HB 1444)
Another multi-state effort under the US Climate Alliance, which also includes the PCC jurisdictions of Oregon and California, this bill sets energy efficiency standards for new products coming to market in 17 product categories.
EV Bill (HB 2043)
Across the West Coast region, and in Washington state, transportation contributes 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This bill provides sales tax incentives for the purchase of new and used electric vehicles and can be used in combination with federal incentives. It also provides new authority for utilities to forward electrification initiatives and a capital grant program for transit agencies.