Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants his state to become the green standard in the fight against climate change, and he just secured a big victory in pursuit of that goal.
On Wednesday, the state legislature passed Inslee’s clean energy bill, establishing some of the most ambitious environmental goals in the nation. It’s a big win for Inslee, who is running for president on a climate change platform.
Washington passed the strongest clean energy policy in the nation on Monday. That’s all. That’s the tweet. https://t.co/tM5l7KC98V
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) April 24, 2019
The bill passed on the heels of Microsoft’s bold new climate change plan. Last week, the Redmond, Wash. company announced it will shift its data centers to 100 percent renewable energy in the next decade and 75 percent by 2023.
Washington’s other tech titan, Amazon, is under pressure unveil a comprehensive environmental plan of its own. In February, Amazon said it will share its carbon footprint for the first time later this year. The company aims to get half of its package deliveries to a standard of net zero carbon by 2030 but hasn’t given a timeline to reach that goal.
Here’s what Washington’s bill does:
- Requires utilities to stop using coal by 2025
- Requires utilities to achieve 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2030, with 80 percent of power coming from sources that don’t produce emissions or are renewable. The other 20 percent can be offset by penalties (similar to a carbon tax) or vouchers that certify emissions were offset by other producers of clean energy. Another option is Energy Transformation Projects, such as electric car infrastructure.
- Requires utilities to transition to 100 percent renewable and non-emitting sources by 2045
- Sets new incentives for Washington utilities and requires them to factor the “social cost of carbon” into decision-making
- Requires utilities to expand to underserved communities and report on progress
- Establishes tax exemptions for clean energy projects that hire minorities and pay workers wages negotiated by unions
Learn more: Check out Vox’s explainer for a deep dive on the bill.