Teslas, Leafs, and hybrids poured into the parking lot under the Meydenbauer Center around 5:30pm on August 28th.
Concerned citizens and activists filled the double conference room at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue Tuesday night. At one point during the evening someone mentioned going off grid to leave PSE’s fossil-fuel based services and the room erupted with clapping.
Manager of Resource Planning Phillip Popoff discussed planning standards and resource needs. He talked at length about RCW 19.285 – the Washington State Energy Independence Act – also known as the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. What he did not make clear was that the three investor owned utilities need to serve their customers with only 9% renewable energy now and that it caps off at 15% in 2020 – AND that those targets can and are being met with Renewable Energy Credits – not by bringing new renewable energy online.
PSE made it clear they didn’t want to discuss policies in this meeting. However, PSE’s current level of carbon emissions result from policies that require PSE to serve customers with the least cost combination of demand and supply-side resources (which has been fossil fuels).
They said that polices are the purview of PSE management and there weren’t any management present at the meeting – advisory group meetings are more technical in nature. Those executives would be available during Listening Sessions, which will start in the Fall, dates, times and locations to be announced.
Oct 11th meeting where the social cost of carbon will be discussed.
PSE set aside 40 minutes for comments at the end of their meeting (7:20pm) and allowed 2 minutes per person, which was strictly enforced by the moderator. I was one of the 20 people lucky enough to comment. PSE said they were not going to record comments verbatim, but instead summarize them in their meeting minutes.
Colstrip Units 3 and 4 are still not working AND THEY STILL DO NOT KNOW WHY. Time to cut off funding for Colstrip instead of propping up this unreliable plant.
– Doug Howell, Sierra Club
Don Marsh, President of CENSE comment (a fictitious look into the future IF PSE did the right thing):
I will read a news article from the Bellevue Reporter, dated August 28, 2030.
Representatives from Puget Sound Energy were joined by environmental organizations, faith groups, and tribal leaders to celebrate the attainment of 100% renewable sources of electricity, two years ahead of the 2032 target date.
On Tuesday, PSE switched its last natural gas power plant to run on hydrogen produced using electrolysis powered by excess wind, solar, and hydro power.
Company officials shared credit for the achievement with voters who passed a precedent-setting carbon pricing initiative, communities that strengthened building codes, and customers who invested in solar panels and batteries to lower their carbon footprints.
“The summers of 2022 and 23 helped to focus our efforts,” said PSE CEO Kimberly Harris. The company’s executive recalled the back-to-back summers when children weren’t allowed to play outside in the Puget Sound’s smoke-filled air. Concerns were compounded during the winter of 2022, when no snow fell at elevations below 7,000 feet. Plants perished in parched yards as water rationing began. Residents were further dismayed when two more baby orcas starved in the Puget Sound. The costs of lower tourism, outdoor recreation, and fishing delivered a painful blow to the local economy.
“It became crystal clear to everyone,” said Han Stevens, a local volunteer for the Sierra Club. “No one thrives when our environment is out of whack. Fortunately, PSE has taken a leading role in an energy revolution that is occurring all over the world. We are on track to have a carbon-free world where people and the planet will benefit.”
PSE’s 2017 IRP states that it is “keenly aware of their customers’ interest in reducing PSE’s carbon emissions…”
When I read that, I thought my work here is done….
But, then I read on… apparently the current level of “emissions result from policies that require PSE to serve customers with the least cost combination of demand and supply-side resources….”
If policies have prevented PSE from reducing their carbon emissions in the past, I’m hoping that now that the WUTC has directed PSE, as well as other Investor Owned Utilities, to use “a more robust cost-of-carbon estimate in future resource plans,” renewable energy will be more viable.
I would expect that Montana wind, for example, might fair better in PSE’s 2019 IRP than it did in 2017.
I was impressed that Montana State Representative, Denise Hayman was at the IRP hearing in Renton, WA, in February.
She said that they have “great wind in Montana and can provide wind energy to WA at a very reasonable cost.” Also she talked about the fact that Montana wind generates the most energy in the winter when WA needs it. And, that it could eliminate the need for PSE’s proposed gas peaker plants.
I look forward to seeing PSE’s 2019 IRP that brings new renewable energy online and has a roadmap for a 100% renewable energy future.