Wednesday, February 21st, Renton, WA at Puget Sound Energy’s 20-year Integrated Resource Plan hearing before the Utilities and Transportation Commission — More than 250 people packed the room to protest PSE’s 20-year fossil fuel plan. 100s rallied outside in the freezing cold. Public comment lasted from 1:30-4pm then started up again with King County Executive Dow Constantine at 5:30 and went until 7pm. It was incredible to witness a constant stream of people asking for a path to 100% renewable energy.
Just in!! Here’s a FANTASTIC letter that the entire 23rd Legislative District delegation (Senator Christine Rolfes, and Representatives Appleton and Hansen) sent the UTC regarding PSE’s 2017 IRP: Legislative Letter re PSE IRP to WA UTC.
Read the AMAZING letter that Bainbridge Island City Council sent to the Utilities and Transportation Commission: COBI LTR to WUTC 021518
Today, Thursday Feb 22nd, is the last day to comment on PSE’s 20-year plan:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org Include a brief cover note that includes:
- “This is a comment on PSE’s 2017 Integrated Resource Plan, Docket numbers UE-160918 and UG-160919”
Groups who testified included: as 350 Seattle, 350 Tacoma, Backbone, Redefine Tacoma, Vashon Climate Action Group, Indigenous environmental activists, faith organizations, Puyallup Tribal Nation, Puyallup Water Warriors, Indivisible Vashon, Indivisible Bainbridge, Students for the Salish Sea, the Sierra Club. Elected officials from throughout PSE service territory testified, including King County Executive Dow Constantine, Olympia Mayor Pro-Tem Nathaniel Jones, Kirkland Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold, and Bellingham City Council Member Michael Lilliquist and Montana State Rep. Denise Hayman.
She talked about the fact that Montana wind generates the most energy in the winter, when WA needs it most and would eliminate the need for PSE’s proposed gas peaker plants.
“Puget Sound Energy declined to make anyone available to comment, but its 20-year plan indicates coal’s the cheapest option — unless Washington passes a carbon tax. That would make renewable options cheaper than coal.”
One of the best comments I heard was from Kellen Lynch, an Energy Policy Researcher at Western Washington University:
“I am an energy policy researcher at Western Washington University and today I am here with 8 of my peers. I would like to start by thanking the UTC and Michael Lilliquist from Bellingham for coming down, as well. I think it is fundamentally important to remember why we are all here today. There are over 200 of us in this room. It is because we care. We care about our future. However, after listening to PSE’s presentation today I am concerned about the apparent lack of urgency in their plan. I think it’s important to look at the language that was used in their plan. Three words from their presentation today stick out to me. Those words are, “The next IRP” Why the next? Why not now? I am worried that if we keep pushing off action we will continue to kick the can down the road as we’ve done since the 1980s when we started seriously studying climate change.
Language is important. I would like to point out that calling natural gas is disingenuous to what it really is. It would be equally accurate for me to call solar power “natural electricity” but that doesn’t tell you what it really is. Natural gas is a methane fuel. Methane is about 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Lastly, I would like to comment on PSE’s proposed small scale case study on flow batteries. I think it’s great that they are looking at batteries for energy storage. We need to go that direction. However, I am confused because PSE claims they are doing a case study because they’ve never worked with batteries before. One other thing they’ve never done before is to store massive amounts of methane fuel, like at the proposed facility near Tacoma. It strikes me as odd that they are doing a small case study for batteries, but not for a dangerous and toxic massive fuel storage infrastructure project. Thank you.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine made a middle-of-the-road comment supporting the bills that PSE and other Investor Owned Utilities support: SB 6424 and HB 2839. (I think I was expecting more after seeing him in the movie From the Ashes.)
SB 6424 – Sponsors Carlyle, Fain, Palumbo, Saldaña
HB 2839 – Sponsored by Representatives Morris, Slatter, Doglio, and Fitzgibbon
Brief Summary of carbon adder bill
- Requires electrical companies, gas companies, and the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to use a carbon planning adder when evaluating and selecting conservation policies, programs, and targets.
- Authorizes the UTC to regulate an electrical or gas company under an alternative form of regulation.
My comment before the UTC yesterday:
After PSE’s Rate Case Hearing in August I was thrilled to learn that PSE and other stakeholders agreed to a settlement with the UTC to move up the timeline to recover depreciation costs for Colstrip Units 3&4 to 2027.
Puget Sound Energy’s 20-year Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) makes it clear that they do not anticipate bringing any new renewable energy online in the foreseeable future without stronger environmental regulations. The plan includes continued use of fossil fuels and related infrastructure, such as: Gas Peaker plants, Tacoma’s Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant, gas from British Columbia, and continued operation of Colstrip.
The IRP indicates that PSE can meet the Energy Independence Act’s Renewable Portfolio Standard of 9% now and 15% starting 2020 by using Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) instead of increasing their renewable energy resources.
Washington State will not be able to meet its climate commitments without transitioning to a carbon-free future. As our state’s largest utility, Puget Sound Energy has a particular responsibility to lead the way.
Please continue to defend the public interest by rejecting any plan from Puget Sound Energy that does not move toward a 100% fossil-fuel-free future.