Washington city plans to run on 100% wind power

Washington wind farm

Under its new Green Direct program, utility PSE is teaming up with cities, governments, and major commercial customers in Washington state to provide them with renewable energy.

The City of Mercer Island, Washington, announced that it will buy 20 years of clean wind power to replace its current mix of electricity. Today, 60% of the power supplied regionally by Puget Sound Energy (PSE) derives from coal and natural gas.

The City’s contract for 2019-2039 will replace those fossil fuels under PSE’s new Green Direct program, covering its annual municipal usage of three million kilowatt-hours.

“Moving 100% of Mercer Island facilities away from fossil fuel-based electricity to clean, renewable wind, is just the kind of program we had in mind,” said Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett. “We appreciate PSE’s significant efforts to implement this new direct-purchase option in Washington, and we look forward to directly funding a new wind farm.”

Over the long-term, the City believes it will save money via the contract, according to Ross Freeman, City Sustainability Manager: “A 2% yearly inflation rate is built in, but based on historic data, future power rates are forecast to increase by approximately 2 to 4% per year.”

The City joins King County, Western Washington University, Anacortes, Bellevue, Snoqualmie, and Sound Transit, as well as major commercial consumers such as REI, Starbucks, and Target in launching the innovative program in Washington state.

This initiative is just one example of the City’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, renewable energy, and carbon-footprint reduction. Through various City programs, Mercer Island has installed substantial amounts of residential and commercial solar generation, and is now approaching 1,000 kilowatts of local production capacity.

In partnership with the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (representing 1.5 million people), the City of Mercer Island also undertakes many other joint carbon footprint reduction measures, such as: cleaner fleet vehicles, EV charging infrastructure, and energy-efficient commercial construction rules.

“Ever since our record-breaking residential Green Power sign-up campaign in 2012, we’ve been looking for other ways to reduce our community’s carbon footprint,” said Mayor Bassett.

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