The state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest could become a centre for renewables, especially because of increased interest in clean energy sources in the wake of Kyoto. With this in mind, renewable energy advocates are trying to expand an existing state sales tax exemption for solar and wind products -- currently only applicable to units of more than 200 kW -- to smaller residential sized units. They argue that since exemptions for small systems are already offered in other states, such as California, Nevada and Oregon, buyers tend to order small wind and solar products from those states to save money. There are also moves to add a 3% surcharge to electric bills to boost conservation programmes and renewables investment. "Washington could play a key role as an incubator and developer of technology that can reduce carbon emissions worldwide," says KC Golden, assistant director for energy programmes at the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.
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