On Election Day 2006, the Washington State electorate passed Initiative 937, which will require large utilities to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources, such as solar power or wind power, and it will require the utilities to incorporate energy-efficient and cost-effective systems. The initiative also requires that any new facilities built in the state of Washington follow the standards.

The vote came down to a difference of approximately 30,000 people, which was very close, comparatively speaking, and the majority support the initiative because of its benefits to the environment and to long-term costs. With a projected 20 percent increase in electricity demand, the initiative’s supporters reject the idea of building more environmentally unfriendly plants or buying energy from out of state, both of which would raise the cost of electricity significantly.

However, those opposed argued the initiative was unneeded, citing Washington as the cleanest energy-producing state in the country with two-thirds of its electricity generated from hydroelectric power.

Regardless of the dispute, the vote settled the argument. The initiative demand must be met by 2020. Be on the look out for work in energy efficiency and renewable energies in Washington. It could be a good source of revenue for the next decade and a half.

To read the text of Initiative 937, and to determine its effects, visit www.secstate.wa.gov or www.energysecuritynow.org.                EC