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Washington Clean Energy Rules
Ban Coal After 2025

by Staff
Tri-Cities Business Journal, January 2021

Portland General Electric will complete its 10-year plan to mothball the 600 megawatt coal-burning power plant at Boardman, Oregon, by the end of 2020. The end of coal at Boardman is a dramatic shift in energy production in the region. Washington power providers must remove coal from their portfolios by 2025 under rules adopted by the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Commerce regulates 64 publicly-owned utilities, including the public utility districts, cities and rural electric associations that keep the lights on in much of the Mid-Columbia.

The UTC regulates investor-owned utilities.

The rules implement Washington's Clean Energy Transformation Act, the 2020 law enacted by Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature which mandates the state achieve carbon-free power by 2045. Utilities must file plans on how they will comply with the rules by the end of 2021.

The Northwest has already made progress on removing coal from the list of fuels that power the power plants. Burning coal emits carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change. Four coal plants, including two in Montana and one each in Washington and Oregon, shut down in 2020.

The move from coal and carbon-based fuels such as natural gas will have a minimal impact on the public utilities that serve the Mid-Columbia, which rely heavily on hydro and nuclear power.

The Benton and Franklin public utility districts, Richland Energy Services and Benton Rural Electric Association chiefly draw power from the Bonneville Power Administration, the federal system powered by the Columbia and Snake River dams, the Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant in Richland and other mostly non-carbon sources.

The region does have a stake in coal emissions through its proximity to Boardman, Oregon, where Portland General Electric and its minority partner, Idaho Power, operated a 650MW coal plant for generations until it shut down on Oct. 15, 2020.

The clean energy rules spell out how Washington will achieve its goals over the coming years. Broadly, utilities must achieve a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by 2030, and source 100% of their electricity from renewable or non-carbon-emitting sources by 2045.

Details include:

Go to A summary of the BPA fuel mix is here.

Related Pages:
Wind, Solar Power Plants Cheaper Than Coal in a Decade by Frik Els,, 10/11/16

Washington Clean Energy Rules Ban Coal After 2025
Tri-Cities Business Journal, January 2021

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