A $2B boost for WA’s clean energy economy

May 1, 2023

Washington state leads the nation with the best state economy, per WalletHub.

And we’re near the top of the list in per capita Gross Domestic Product by state:

Our economy is built on innovation, from aviation and agriculture to ecommerce and high tech. It’s a dynamic economy, always moving forward. As we compete with the other 49 states, it’s worth noting a common denominator among the top-of-the-list states: each of the GDP leaders (New York, Massachusetts, California…) are among the most ambitious states in moving their economies forward to a clean energy future. For example, headlines in New York are about Governor Kathy Hochul unveiling a cap-and-invest system similar to Washington’s. News from Massachusetts is that Governor Maura Healey signed an Executive Order establishing the position of Climate Chief and creating an Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience. And in California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law measures that committed California to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, invested $6.1 billion in zero-emission vehicles, and created a pathway for the state’s electrical grid to be fueled by clean energy over the next two decades.

The biggest news and best headline comes from The Seattle Times:

WA budgets $2B to cut greenhouse gas emissions; here’s where the money will go

This article is a thorough overview of the biennial budget investments made possible by the Climate Commitment Act (CCA). Some highlights include investments that we at Clean & Prosperous Washington promoted:

Decarbonizing medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

“Lawmakers agreed on $120 million to replace fossil-fueled school buses with electric and other zero-emission buses, and incentives and infrastructure for zero-emission commercial vehicles. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks — buses, freight, and other commercial vehicles — account for less than 5% of the vehicles on the road but produce over 20% of the emissions from the transportation sector, which accounts for more than one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”

Decarbonizing ferries and ports

“More than $100 million will go to electrifying the state’s transit system, including ferries. An additional $43 million from the account will help ports add onshore electric power to reduce emissions from idling engines. An analysis of asthma rates in one California port community found that 1,600 cases of childhood asthma were attributable to proximity to ship traffic.”

Decarbonizing dairy operations

“Farmers could get a piece of $30 million to help reduce their carbon footprint. The grants could be used to help create anaerobic dairy digesters — big soupy pits where bacteria breaks down cow manure into fertilizer and biogas. ‘We learned in California that they’ve used 2% of their carbon revenues for dairy digesters for methane reduction, and generated 29% of their greenhouse gas emission reduction,’ said Michael Mann, the head of Clean & Prosperous Washington, who helped advocate for the spending.”

Former state senator Reuven Carlyle said it well in his Earth Day op-ed:

“We can be optimistic because building a modern economy based on a core principle of sustainability is the most accelerated economic opportunity in history.

Cap and invest and other state policies combined with the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act — which is reducing the cost for companies to decarbonize by up to one-third — are collectively accelerating the market’s transition to a sustainable future.

If we look at the 27-year transition to a low-carbon economy through the gift of new eyes, the economic transition to sustainability is the most accelerated market opportunity in global history.

Washington is showing other states and regions around the world a public policy and private sector model of innovation and partnership that can inspire action globally.”

If you share our bullish outlook on the positive long-term impact these climate-smart investments will have on Washington’s top-ranked economy, please share this news with your network of friends and colleagues.

Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
Contact us at info@cleanprosperouswa.com