As I watch our glaciers disappear, snow pack decline, rivers and salmon suffer increasingly dry summers and the ocean acidify, it’s hard to watch the Clallam County Public Utility District not showing leadership in this changing world.
All need to step up and address the challenge by investing more in energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy, whether rooftop solar or more community solar, and exploring micro-grids and battery storage to help our remote area be more resilient to outages from more extreme storms or reduced hydro generation.
In 2006 Washington voted to require utilities to generate 15 percent of their power using renewable sources by 2020; this PUD didn’t meet that.
The 2019 Clean Energy Transformation Act requires the state’s electric generation be carbon neutral by 2030.
Washington has been a leader in addressing the climate emergency but I don’t think our PUD has been.
Instead, it seems to me that current policies are disincentives for citizens wanting to do their part by investing in solar photovoltaic or solar hot water, for instance charging customers, including those generating their own power with PV, much higher base rates than neighboring utilities.
Despite efforts by Commissioner Waddell, the commission seems to be stuck in the past, trying to put all its eggs in the hydropower basket despite decreasing snowpack that threatens future hydro capacity.
We’re lucky to have hydropower, but it has costs, like high methane emissions from reservoirs and the toll on salmon and orcas that depend on them.
It’s time for some change and Ken Hays offers that chance.