Governor Inslee has proposed that Washington to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. As an intermediate step, he proposes eliminating coal power, including “coal-by-wire” from out of state, by 2025. The plan requires Washington utilities to start transitioning to a carbon-neutral electricity supply by 2030 and puts the state on a pathway to eliminate fossil fuels from electricity generation by 2045.
In this project you will assess the economic impacts of this policy, should it be implemented.
1. Is it feasible?
2. What is required to meet the 2045 target?
3. What are the costs to Washington businesses and consumers?
There are many, many considerations to this proposal. Here are a few:
1. It appears that nuclear power is permitted under this proposal, since it does not utilize fossil fuel.
2. Washington exports a lot of electricity – if electricity generation is reduced, or made more expensive, it will have ramifications for consumers in the western U.S. and Canada.
3. Be aware of mismatches between electricity production and electricity demand – wind power is often produced at times that it isn’t really needed, for example. Some renewable power sources are non-dispatchable. There are also needs for voltage regulation and frequency regulation.
4. There are geographic constraints for both solar and wind power.
5. Don’t forget that increased electrification of transportation, heating, etc. is also part of Governor Inslee’s broader green energy plan. Take this into account along with general population/economic growth.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has a good summary page for Washington energy production and consumption: https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=WA#tabs-4