Gov. Jay Inslee recently announced that eight state agencies will purchase over one hundred million kWh of electricity by 2021 from wind and solar projects built in Washington state.
Overall, the purchase represents nearly one quarter of the electricity demand required for state agency operations, or enough electricity to power more than 6,000 homes. Participating in one or both programs is estimated to save agencies more than $15,000 per year on their electricity bills, and reduce emissions by 22,000 metric tons per year.
Starting in 2019, the Department of Enterprise Services will begin purchasing 39.8 million kWh of solar and wind power to serve state-owned facilities in Thurston County. Beginning in 2021, an additional six agencies will expand this purchase by 67.8 million kWh to power their operations in the Puget Sound region.
Also in 2019, five agencies will begin purchasing 3.6 million kWh to power their eastern Washington operations from a large solar-power facility under development in Lind, Washington.
“We are walking the talk when it comes to stepping up to the challenge of reducing emissions across state government,” Inslee said. “One way we are doing this is by purchasing clean, renewable energy from projects built right here in Washington state. Not only does this get us closer to meeting our emissions reduction goals, but it will also save us money over the long term.”
In January, Inslee signed Executive Order 18–01, requiring the agencies with the largest share of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to take measures to significantly reduce emissions from their operations. The Office of State Efficiency and Environmental Performance, within the Department of Commerce, coordinates interagency work to implement the executive order.
“This purchase of renewable power shows that state agencies are committed to reducing emissions and bolsters public confidence in our environmental performance efforts. We have an important role to play in strengthening communities through environmentally-responsible purchasing and reduction of energy use and toxics in state government operations,” said Hanna Waterstrat, director of the Office of State Efficiency and Environmental Performance at the Department of Commerce.
The purchases are being made possible by agencies’ participation in Puget Sound Energy’s Green Direct program and Avista’s Solar Select Program. Participating state agencies include: the Department of Enterprise Services, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Labor and Industries, the Department of Ecology, and Washington State Patrol.