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Working on RPS in Washington state
1 March 2006
The growing movement in the state of Washington to place a proposal for a renewables portfolio standard (RPS) on the November ballot has been a long time coming. "We've been working on this for about five years," says Rachel Shimshak of Renewable Northwest Project. "Nobody said campaigns are easy, but we think this one is worthwhile." The legislation proposal will call for a minimum standard of 15% renewables in Washington's electricity portfolio by 2020, but the process will require 300,000 signatures by the end of June. "We feel very encouraged by the level of support we've seen," says Shimshak. So why has it taken this long for Washington -- a part of the US that takes great pride in its environmental acumen -- to get even close to an RPS? "Washington is a complicated place," says Shimshak. "The public here has a lot of power and that makes it more difficult than other places. For one thing, there are a lot of consumer-owned utilities rather than investor-owned and that has slowed things down. Certain utilities have been leaders but the goal is to bring everybody up to the same standard." The state had 390 MW of installed wind power through 2005 and the massive Wild Horse Wind Power Project is expected to add 230 MW this year. "At this point I think a lot of people are saying: what are we waiting for? Let's get on with it," says Shimshak.
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