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North American Windpower
February 22, 2012

Washington State Legislators Consider Changing Renewable Portfolio Standard

Capital investment to date in Washington energy produced from wind, solar, geothermal and biomass has exceeded $7.9 billion, according to data released by Renewable Northwest Project, a regional nonprofit advocacy group.

"This is a pivotal time for economic recovery and environmental protection, and Washington's renewable energy resources are delivering the solutions we need," said Rachel Shimshak, executive director at Renewable Northwest Project, in a statement.

However, the Washington state legislature is considering changes to the renewable energy standard in the state’s voter-approved clean energy law, Initiative 937 (I-937). Passed in 2006, I-937 advanced Washington’s role as a national renewable energy leader, attracting renewable industry businesses and capital investments to the state, according to the group.

The group says the future of I-937 is uncertain, just as uncertainty surrounds regional transmission policies and federal renewable energy policies, such as the production tax credit, which will expire unless extended.

U.S.-based manufacturers and their employees are benefiting from the renewable energy investments in Washington. The Katana-Summit wind turbine component manufacturing facility in Ephrata employs 150 people. The solar photovoltaic manufacturing sector has brought more than $1 billion in capital investment to the state since 2006 and employs more than 720 full-time workers.

 

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