Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is working with Washington's investor-owned utilities to make significant steps in reducing Washington's carbon footprint by increasing energy conservation, promoting renewable energy development, and building a modern energy infrastructure.
In 2019, the Washington Legislature and governor adopted the Washington Clean Energy Transformation Act, requiring the state's electric utilities to fully transition to clean, renewable power by 2045.
Washington's investor-owned utilities must develop and implement plans to reduce carbon emissions or pay penalties for failing to meet requirements of the law.
The Utilities and Transportation Commission will develop programs and rules to review companies' plans and ensure compliance with legislative requirements.
The state's three investor-owned electric utilities are in compliance with state conservation and renewable energy requirements.
The Energy Independence Act, approved by voters in 2006, requires qualifying electric utilities to obtain a certain percentage of their electricity from eligible renewable resources, including wind, solar, and hydro power.
As part of the EIA requirements, Avista, Pacific Power, and Puget Sound Energy filed reports detailing their renewable portfolios and how each utility will supply at least 9 percent of its electric load through renewable sources for 2018.
Conservation is defined as any reduction in energy consumption resulting from increases in the efficiency of energy use, production, or distribution. The Energy Independence Act requires electric utilities to pursue all available conservation that is cost-effective, reliable and achievable. Additionally, the UTC's integrated resource planning rules require electric and natural gas companies to meet customer needs with the right mix of energy supply and conservation resources.
Utilities provides customer incentives for cost-effective conservation because it is cheaper to help customers save energy and lower energy demand than it is to build additional infrastructure or purchase other energy supplies. All customers benefit as a result of these investments.
Utility efforts to conserve energy have contributed to Washington's top ten ranking in the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's State Energy Efficiency Scorecard since 2007.
The EIA requires utilities to acquire all cost-effective conservation and increases the renewable portfolio standard to 15 percent by 2020.
Did you know? Washington has more than 124 programs and policies to help you lower your energy bill.
In 2017, Washington joined the Pacific Coast states to support efforts to reduce carbon pollution and expand development of low-carbon technologies in the energy industry.
The UTC has issued a number of policy statements related to the future of energy policy, addressing topics such as natural gas conservation, renewable portfolio standard eligibility, electric vehicle infrastructure, and energy storage. These policy statements guide the industry toward conservation and renewable planning measures without overly narrow requirements for getting there.
Electric utilities are required to offer their customers a voluntary option to buy green power according to state law. These green power options are typically sold in kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks for a set price. Read more about Green Power.
With approval from the UTC, Puget Sound Energy's Green Direct program allows participants the ability to purchase 100 percent of their energy from renewable energy resources. In 2018, the program was fully subscribed.
In 2017, the Utilities and Transportation Commission approved an all-party settlement that will allow Microsoft to achieve its corporate commitments to carbon neutrality and renewable energy while at the same time protecting PSE's ratepayers from costs shifts, and furthering state policies regarding the development of renewable resources and supporting low-income initiatives.