Washington state and British Columbia are partnering to share resources and work together as each government pursues ambitious clean energy goals.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier John Horgan announced the new Joint Clean Grid Initiative on stage at the Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference in Seattle on Thursday.
The initiative will establish a working group with representatives of the two governments that will study ways to align B.C. and Washington’s efforts to transition to an energy grid powered by 100 percent renewable sources. The Joint Clean Grid Initiative will hold a summit at a yet-to-be-determined location in the spring of 2020.
“The more efficient we can be moving electricity across the border where it is most effective and most efficient, that’s really important to maximize renewable energy,” Inslee said during a press conference at the Cascadia Conference. “We have backup power that might be available on the other side of the border.”
The working group will establish a Clean Grid Action Plan for the region with input from industry experts, research institutions, and other stakeholders. The group will also represent the region when collaborating with other governments and climate change organizations.
“One of the biggest challenges for us, as we address climate change, is aggressive electrification of our economies,” Horgan said. “Both jurisdictions are blessed with an abundance of hydroelectricity but there are areas where we can bring on more renewables.”
The Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference is an annual event designed to foster deeper collaboration between the biggest cities in the Pacific Northwest. The organization was established to create a technology-focused mega-region similar to Silicon Valley. Horgan and Inslee discussed the climate change initiative during a panel moderated by Seattle Metro Chamber CEO Marilyn Strickland. The two leaders also held private bilateral talks at the event.
B.C. and Washington have set ambitious goals to reduce their carbon footprints in the past year. Inslee championed legislation that requires the state to transition to 100 percent clean electricity, reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2030, and meet other environmental goals. It is considered one of the strongest clean energy laws in the nation. B.C. plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
The Clean Grid Initiative is an evolution of a 2018 agreement between B.C. and Washington to fight the climate crisis together.