Washington State Voters Mandate Efficiency and Renewable Energy
November 15, 2006
Voters in Washington State have approved Initiative Measure 937, which calls for the state's investor-owned utilities to draw on new renewable energy sources for 15 percent of their electricity supply by 2020. The measure allows utilities to buy renewable energy credits to help meet the requirement, and gives double credit for smaller, customer-sited systems, so long as the utility buys the renewable energy credits for those systems. The renewable power can be produced from wind, solar, geothermal, or ocean energy, as well as certain types of biomass energy. Hydropower generated from irrigation pipes and canals or from capacity gains achieved by installing more efficient turbines at existing facilities will also qualify. The measure also calls for utilities to pursue all available energy-saving efforts that are cost-effective, reliable, and feasible, allowing credit for customer-owned facilities that generate both heat and power. See the full text of the initiative (PDF 33 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
The measure passed by a small margin, with the unofficial vote count showing 51.6 percent of voters in favor. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that the measure would save money for consumers while bringing economic and environmental benefits to the state. See the election results and the UCS press release.
Meanwhile, voters in Boulder, Colorado, have approved a ballot issue adding an extra tax on their electricity bills to fund the city's Climate Action Plan. The tax will fund programs to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use; reduce emissions from motor vehicles; and take other steps to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions. According to the unofficial vote count, the ballot issue passed with 60.4 percent of the voters in favor. See the ballot measure (PDF 513 KB) and the election results.