Bill committing Washington State, USA, to 100 percent clean energy passes Senate
SB 5116 just passed the WA senate – it would
– Close all coal plants by 2025
– Mandate carbon-neutral electricity by 2030, and
– Carbon-free by 2045
The Washington Senate today, March 1st 2019, approved a sweeping, historic bill to commit the state to 100 percent clean energy from renewable and zero-emission sources.
Senators voted 28-19 in favor of Senate Bill 5116, sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle). The bill would require all electric utilities in Washington to transition to a 100-percent, carbon-neutral electricity supply by 2030 and to 100-percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.
“It’s simply time to move past the era of carbon into the next generation with modern, 21st-century energy systems using integrated wind, hydro and solar power,” Carlyle said. “I’m proud that this is the strongest, 100-percent clean energy bill adopted in the nation, and we thank Hawaii and California for paving the way. Now, it’s up to the other states to follow our lead.”
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)
Electricity remains the largest source of carbon emissions worldwide and is the third-highest emitting sector in Washington, after transportation and buildings.
Senate Bill 5166 would make Washington one of the first states in the nation to commit broadly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity while adopting a precise action plan to do so. It is also the most extensive measure on climate action that Washington’s Legislature has adopted since 2008, when it committed the state to reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.
Forward thinking on Climate Change
Democrats lauded the measure as forward-thinking and protective in nature, both for those who are low-income and those future generations who could face the most serious impacts from a climate rapidly changing due to human influences. It’s part of a larger package of climate-focused bills they hope to pass this session.
“Communities on the front lines of climate change need clean energy as much as they need to keep the lights on,” said David Mendoza, Legislative & Government Affairs director of Front and Centered, a coalition of more than 60 organizations rooted in communities of color, in a press release after the Senate vote. “We are proud that the 100 percent clean electricity bill has one of the strongest equity provisions we’ve seen in environmental policy within the Legislature. By requiring all electric utilities to provide assistance to low-income households, including discounted rates and energy conservation, we are leading the way on clean energy through a just, effective transition.”
The bill is scheduled for a public hearing at 8 am on Tuesday, March 5, in the House Committee on Environment & Energy. And is part of a wider package of Senate legislation to make a meaningful reduction in Washington’s carbon footprint.