Seattle City Light continues to meet the renewable energy and energy conservation requirements of the Energy Independence Act, passed by Washington State voters in 2006 as Initiative 937.
The law establishes increasing standards for the share of state utilities’ energy portfolios to come from new, renewable resources, such as wind, solar and biomass. It also sets energy conservation goals for utilities.
Washington’s standards are among the most aggressive in the country because they do not count any renewable energy resources that were developed before 1997. About 90 percent of the electricity City Light delivers to its customers comes from long-held renewable hydroelectric resources. Most of it does not count toward meeting the state’s requirements because our dams and those owned by the Bonneville Power Administration (which we buy power from) were built before 1997. Enhancements, such as generator rebuilds that expand our dams’ capacity, do count.
By the end of 2017, state utilities are required to meet 9 percent of retail sales from eligible renewable resources. City Light will meet that requirement with a combination of wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric efficiency upgrades and landfill gas resources and reported its compliance to the Washington State Department of Commerce in May.
Looking ahead, City Light has contracts in place for additional new, renewable energy resources to meet the 15 percent portfolio requirement that takes effect in 2020.
On the energy efficiency side of the law, City Light has a two-year goal to achieve 224,431 megawatt-hours of energy savings by the end of 2017. City Light accomplished 60 percent of that goal, or 134,846 megawatt-hours, in 2016 alone and is well on its way to meeting the target.
The energy efficiency investments City Light makes save customers millions of dollars over the life of the upgrades, such as LED lighting, ductless heat pumps, energy efficient appliances and weatherization.