The transition to a clean energy economy requires knocking down barriers. Regulatory obstacles. Massive subsidies for fossil fuels. And most importantly—high cost hurdles for new, clean technology, which, though cheaper and better in the long term, have to overcome the inertia of two centuries of fossil fuel dependence.
Washington took a step forward in addressing some of these. For the last few years, our state has had on the books a small subsidy for alternative fuel trucks. The program didn’t work—the incentive level was set too low, preferencing natural gas over zero-emission choices, and covered only a small range of vehicles. Climate Solutions this year partnered the Association of Washington Business, Avista, UPS, BYD, Transpower and others to advocate for an updated incentive.
Governor Inslee signed the reform into law yesterday morning. HB1809 expands the types of vehicles that qualify for the incentive, now including not just freight trucks but also passenger shuttles and commercial service trucks. And critically, the incentive has been restructured to support all alternative fuels, allowing electric trucks to compete on an even playing field with fossil fuel options. Because the cost savings for going electric are so much deeper than natural gas, an even playing field means that more businesses can choose 100% clean options—improving air quality, saving money, and protecting the planet.
I’m particularly encouraged by the coalition that came together to push this improvement. Yes, there were clean energy businesses and climate advocates, but it was also traditional business groups and companies as well. That’s the moral of this story—clean energy isn’t just about fighting climate change. It’s about dollars and cents too.
pictured above, from left: Teresita Torres and Majken Ryherd (Climate Solutions), Alan Kwan ( Dept. of Commerce), Peter Moulton (Dept of Commerce), Vlad Gutman-Britten (Climate Solutions), Kristal Fiser (UPS), John Rothlin (Avista), Sheri Call (Washington Trucking Association), Rep. Jake Fey, Rep. Ed Orcutt, Mike Ennis (Association of Washington Business)