Renewable Energy

Renewable-Wind.jpgRenewable energy is power generated from naturally replenished resources, such as sunlight, wind, rain, snow, tides and geothermal heat.  

In Washington state hydroelectric power is the dominant renewable resource, accounting for approximately two-thirds of the total electricity produced, according to the Energy Information Administration. 

Non-hydroelectric renewable energy sources – wind, biomass and solar – currently contribute about 3 percent of Washington’s total electricity generation. 

The state’s wind energy production has increased significantly since 2000, ranking as one of the top wind energy states in the nation. 
Washington is also a substantial producer of energy from wood and wood waste, accounting for approximately 3 percent of U.S. production. 

In November 2006, 52 percent of Washington voters approved ballot initiative 937.The initiative requires large utilities to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from new renewable resources (excluding existing hydropower) by 2020 with incremental steps of 3 percent by 2012 and 9 percent by 2016, along with undertaking cost-effective energy conservation programs.

Renewable technologies are well suited to smaller applications, as well as often filling the needs of smaller rural communities. A key requirement for all power generation is access to appropriate transmission lines. Smaller rural energy facilities isolated from major power grids may be well served by local renewable power generation.

Some renewable energy technologies – especially solar and wind – are criticized for being intermittent or unsightly, yet the renewable energy market continues to grow. Climate change concerns coupled with high oil prices and increasing government support continue to fuel renewable energy development, legislation, incentives and commercialization.