Seattle City Light Continues to Meet I-937 Requirements

Seattle City Light continues to meet the renewable energy and energy conservation requirements of the Energy Independence Act, passed by Washington State voters in 2006 as Initiative 937.

The law establishes increasing standards for the share of state utilities’ energy portfolios to come from new, renewable resources, such as wind, solar and biomass. It also sets energy conservation goals for utilities.

Washington’s standards are among the most aggressive in the country because they do not count any renewable energy resources that were developed before 1997. About 90 percent of the electricity City Light delivers to its customers comes from long-held renewable hydroelectric resources. Most of it does not count toward meeting the state’s requirements because our dams and those owned by the Bonneville Power Administration (which we buy power from) were built before 1997. Enhancements, such as generator rebuilds that expand our dams’ capacity, do count.

By the end of 2017, state utilities are required to meet 9 percent of retail sales from eligible renewable resources. City Light will meet that requirement with a combination of wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric efficiency upgrades and landfill gas resources and reported its compliance to the Washington State Department of Commerce in May.

Looking ahead, City Light has contracts in place for additional new, renewable energy resources to meet the 15 percent portfolio requirement that takes effect in 2020.

On the energy efficiency side of the law, City Light has a two-year goal to achieve 224,431 megawatt-hours of energy savings by the end of 2017. City Light accomplished 60 percent of that goal, or 134,846 megawatt-hours, in 2016 alone and is well on its way to meeting the target.

The energy efficiency investments City Light makes save customers millions of dollars over the life of the upgrades, such as LED lighting, ductless heat pumps, energy efficient appliances and weatherization.

Seattle City Light on Track to Meet I-937 Goals

Seattle City Light is on track to meet the energy conservation and renewable energy requirements of the Washington Energy Independence Act, which was approved by voters as Initiative 937.

In addition to a requirement for large utilities to have 15 percent of their energy portfolios come from new renewable energy resources by 2020, the law also outlines energy conservation targets to be met every two years.

City Light used the Utility Analysis Option to set our two-year conservation target. City Light completed a Conservation Potential Assessment in 2014 to identify achievable and cost-effective energy conservation potential.

This study identified a biennial energy conservation potential of 207,437 megawatt-hours for 2014-2015 and a 10-year conservation potential of 1,037,184 megawatt-hours. The Seattle City Council adopted these targets with Resolution #31487.

City Light is ahead of pace in meeting the 2014-2015 goal. Through the end of 2014, City Light achieved 159,033 megawatt-hours of savings. That means halfway through the reporting period, the utility has already achieved 76.7 percent of its 2014-2015 biennial target. City Light relied on Bonneville Power Administration’s IS 2.0 reporting system to capture all its energy conservation savings for 2014, which reflects the most current data available as of May 2015.

City Light is required to submit a report on its progress in meeting the conservation targets to the Washington Department of Commerce by June 1.

In 2015, City Light needs to have I-937 eligible renewable energy resources equivalent to 3 percent of retail sales.  City Light will meet this requirement with our purchase of energy produced by the Stateline Wind Project, the Priest Rapids dam and Wanapum dam, and renewable energy credits we get from our purchase from the Bonneville Power Administration.

The Stateline wind farm is one source of new, renewable energy for Seattle City Light.

In 2016, the target increases to 9 percent of sales.  City Light will meet this requirement with contracts already signed with geothermal, biomass, bio-gas, and wind-powered projects in the Northwest.