The Washington Department of Commerce released their 2021 State Energy Strategy in January 2021, investigating what it will take to set the state on a path towards decarbonizing the economy. Updating limits set in 2008, the Washington Legislature established ambitious economy-wide goals: 2050 targets of 95% gross emissions reduction below 1990 levels and net zero, with interim emissions limits of 45% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 70% below 1990 levels by 2040. The study lays out a roadmap to meet emissions targets by sector of the economy, focusing on equitable near-term solutions.
Evolved Energy Research provided the decarbonization modeling underpinning development of the roadmap, supporting a team led by the Clean Energy Transition Institute. The modeling explores a Reference Scenario and five decarbonization scenarios developed through stakeholder engagement to reflect Washington policy and risk driven pathways.
The challenges for Washington are pace in the near-term and scale in the long-term. In the near-term the 45% below 1990 target by 2030 is one of the most ambitious in the US, requiring rapid development of a clean fuels industry to decarbonize transportation. In the long-term Washington more than doubles electricity consumption, requiring regional energy solutions. The Evolved modeling shows that regional integration and sector coupling between fuels and electricity production are key to low cost decarbonization.