State Policy Enables Seattle City Light to Grow Renewables

State policies are growing clean tech economies, such as Washington state’s Clean Energy Fund and a financing program through Seattle City Light.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency forecast is that global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to grow to 16 percent by 2040 from 2015 levels. But, cities and states are committed to stay on track with climate change goals, however. A recent report of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which represents 14 U.S. States and Puerto Rico, said its members are on track to hit a 24 to 29 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2025. That figure is on par with expectations of the U.S. set in the Paris Climate Agreement.

According to Inside Climate News, between 2005 to 2015 the alliance states had cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent while economic output grew 14 percent, which emissions reduction enthusiasts cite as a victory in the war where leaders argue climate change targets will negatively effect the U.S. economy.

We have exploded the myth that you can’t defeat climate change and grow your economy at the same time,” said Washington Govornor Jay Inslee, citing the states’ development of clean energy technologies.

According to the Alliance, on a per capita basis, its states expanded twice as fast as the rest of the country. The report cites best practices of each state.

Washington policy, for example, focuses on financial tools as well as power sector and transportation strategies that achieve a clean energy economy and reduce emissions. The Washington State Clean Energy Fund, established by Inslee in 2013, has invested $80 million and leveraged an additional $200 million in federal and private funds for:

  • Energy Revolving Loan Fund Grants
  • Smart Grid Grants to Utilities
  • Research, Development and Demonstration Matching Funds
  • Credit Enhancement for Renewable Energy Manufacturing Funds, backed by the
    Washington Economic Development Finance Authority

One revolving loan grant helped foster meter-based financing for Seattle City Light.

Financing Through Seattle City Light Grows Renewables, Reduces Power Emissions

Also known as on-bill financing, its an alternative to traditional ways of paying for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects by reducing or eliminating the up-front investment and allowing for repayment from the reduction in energy cost savings.

Nonprofit lenders developed and implemented on-bill repayment mechanisms, and Seattle City Light customers repay energy efficiency projects as part of their electric bill. Customers can use the program for non-electric equipment.

Since inception the program has completed 574 loans for a total $6.7 million using the on-bill repayment mechanism.

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