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BIAW & members support UTC’s Alternative Fuels Pathway

July 31, 2023

BIAW and more than 70 individual members encouraged the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission to support the Alternative Fuels Pathway as it considers pathways to decarbonization.

UTC explores pathways to decarbonization

In 2021, the Washington Legislature directed the UTC to develop several pathways to decarbonization to comply with its goals to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As part of this work, the UTC is:

  • Identifying greenhouse gas reduction pathways for investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities; and
  • Trying to understand the impacts of energy decarbonization on residential and commercial customers and the utilities that serve them.

Five scenarios

The UTC developed five scenarios or pathways to decarbonization and launched a public engagement effort to solicit feedback. The five scenarios include:

  • Business as usual, which assumes no policy changes and only accounts for population increases, economic growth and changes in heating and cooling degree days.
  • Business as planned, which incorporates several energy and climate policies and laws.
  • Electrification, which explores the effects of electrifying nearly everything, including heating, cooling and vehicles.
  • Alternative fuels, which replaces fossil fuels with renewable or zero-emission fuels like renewable natural gas or hydrogen.
  • Hybrid, which combines electrification and alternative fuels.

Alternative Fuels Pathway

After reviewing the Energy Decarbonizations Pathways report, BIAW and many of its members urged the UTC to support the Alternative Fuels scenario that includes Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) as an alternative fuel source. According to the data provided by SSG, the firm that developed the report, this is the lowest cost and least burdensome pathway forward toward decarbonizing our energy sources.

BIAW and its members commented that it would be a mistake to fully abandon natural gas as a viable energy source after 2050. Natural gas, and RNG in the future, provides “on-demand” energy necessary for households or utilities to generate electricity.

We fear that intermittent energy sources like solar and wind will fail to produce enough energy for our state’s needs. With frequent power outages in remote areas, Washington needs access to on-demand energy to keep families warm and safe.

Public comment closed July 31, 2023. The UTC will now review comments to develop a final report and recommendations to the legislature. Thank you to all our members who took the time to respond to our call to action!

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