100% Northwest

By 2030, we will transition our region fully off of harmful fossil fuels and embrace renewables, clean technology, and the courageous effort of this community to get us there. We're in, 100%.

Take the Pledge!

TAKE THE 100% NORTHWEST PLEDGE!

I pledge to help move Northwest Washington to 100% clean energy by 2030. I will do this by urging my local, state, and federal elected officials to champion an equitable transition to clean energy and hold them accountable for their decisions, actions, or inactions. I will also advocate for actions that allow all Northwesterners to affordably power their homes, vehicles, businesses, and communities with clean energy.


Why join 100% Northwest?

The stakes could not be higher

Recent IPCC reports have made it abundantly clear that greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels have put the world at immediate risk from climate change. The window of opportunity for humanity to prevent catastrophic warming is small and shrinking by the day. Our only viable way to ensure a livable future is to stop adding emissions to the atmosphere by 2050 through a rapid transition off of fossil fuels and onto clean energy. The IPCC states CO2 emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 to reach ‘net zero’ around 2050.

The State of Washington recognized this imperative when it enacted the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) in 2019, requiring utilities to eliminate coal power by 2025, become carbon neutral by 2030, and phase out gas-fired power generation from our electric grid entirely by 2045. The City of Bellingham has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030. While 70% of people in our region are worried about global warming, far fewer see a clear path to reaching these climate goals.

At RE Sources, we know Northwest Washington can’t solve climate change alone, but that’s not an excuse to sit by. It’s also not in our nature. We’re a region of doers, innovators and leaders. We have an opportunity to serve as a model for other parts of the country by taking bold action toward these goals, we just need to illuminate the path forward.


Our Solution

For years, RE Sources and its supporters have pushed for ambitious clean energy policy and climate action planning at the local, regional and state levels. This year, we’re building on these successes and jumpstarting clean energy adoption in our region with the 100% Northwest campaign. Our goal is to transition Northwest Washington to a 100% clean energy economy by 2030 by advocating for smart policies, informing residents about practical clean energy solutions, and widening community outreach. 100% Northwest will address three pillars of the clean energy transition:

1) Build Clean Energy

Buildings are the fastest-growing source of climate-heating emissions in the state thanks largely to gas appliances. The good news is, we can drastically reduce climate pollution from the built environment by making buildings more efficient and by replacing gas appliances with electric appliances such as heat pumps, electric water heaters and induction stoves, a process known as building electrification.

In February 2022, the City of Bellingham passed an ordinance requiring new commercial and large residential buildings to use efficient electric heating and hot water systems, moving away from methane gas. While this was a critical step, the urgency of the climate crisis demands that we also update existing buildings in our communities to be all-electric as fossil fuel appliances reach their end of life. This step is more challenging, because appliance and electrical system upgrades in existing homes and other buildings present upfront cost barriers, even though heating space and water with electric heat pumps is more efficient and cost-effective over the long run. Moreover, decades of gas industry PR have convinced the public that “natural” gas is a clean, safe, superior option for home appliances, rather than just another dirty, planet-heating fossil fuel.

2) Power Clean Energy

At the same time we’re transitioning the way we build to utilize clean energy through all-electric buildings, we need to develop our capacity to power everything with renewable energy. While some of this work involves improving our regional energy grid, we can also remove barriers to generating and storing more renewable energy here in the region. For instance, right now county ordinances on the books needlessly restrict small scale wind projects. As part of the 100% Northwest campaign, RE Sources will advocate for smart policy changes that stop rigging the game toward fossil fuels and start supporting the transition to clean, reliable, renewable sources of electricity.

3) Fund Clean Energy

We’re engaging with members of our community to promote fair and equitable policies to phase out the use of fossil fuels for indoor heating over the next decade by making investments in electrification and efficiency while avoiding financial burdens for energy users and for workers during the clean energy transition. Tenants, workers, and builders all know the energy transition is underway. What we need now is to inform and engage as many members of our community as possible so we can plan a just and swift clean energy transition that benefits all of us.

Through the 100% Northwest campaign, RE Sources aims to inform and support efforts by the City of Bellingham and communities throughout Northwest Washington to raise funds for the clean energy transition that prioritize low- and moderate-income households and frontline communities, while ensuring workers don’t get left behind.


A Clean Energy Future is 100% Possible

Phasing out gas, building electric, improving energy efficiency, bringing renewables online and reducing cost barriers must occur in concert, and we can’t let multi-million-dollar PR campaigns from fossil fuel companies continue to sow doubt and delay progress any longer.

When it comes to climate change, there’s no time left to lose. We have to be in, one hundred percent. 100% Northwest unites our region under the shared vision of a clean energy future. By 2030, we will transition our region fully off of harmful fossil fuels and embrace renewables, clean technology, and the courageous effort of this community to get us there. We’re Northwesterners – we’re up for the adventure.

Taking the 100% Northwest pledge is just step 1 in ensuring our region transitions swiftly off of fossil fuels and onto clean energy. We have more actions, events, and ways for the community to engage coming your way, so make sure to join us in all of the great work we have coming up by taking the pledge today!

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TAKE THE 100% NORTHWEST PLEDGE!

I pledge to help move Northwest Washington to 100% clean energy by 2030. I will do this by urging my local, state, and federal elected officials to champion an equitable transition to clean energy and hold them accountable for their decisions, actions, or inactions. I will also advocate for actions that allow all Northwesterners to affordably power their homes, vehicles, businesses, and communities with clean energy.

It’s Time to Electrify

We have to move on from natural gas

Our future relies on moving our energy systems to renewables as soon as possible. Communities need bold, continued action in Washington and beyond to rapidly increase investments in fossil-free renewable energy.

There’s one place, though, where a huge and often-overlooked chunk of our fossil fuels go and where evidence of adverse health effects is mounting: Natural gas — which is mostly methane — piped into homes, offices, schools and buildings for heat is also heating the climate and contributing to respiratory disease. In fact, buildings are the fastest-growing source of climate-heating emissions in the state — which increased 50% since 1990, driven by gas appliances, even though Washington’s emissions overall grew only 10% since 1990.

The vision we’re working toward locally and statewide: transitioning buildings off of fossil fuels (like gas space heaters, gas water heaters, gas stoves, and other appliances) over the next several years by setting standards for new construction, making investments in electrification, and ensuring justice in the transition for energy users and for workers.

Methane gas nationwide produces more carbon emissions than coal, and right here in Bellingham creates more than 40% of our community’s direct carbon emissions (that’s more than all the cars on all its roads!).

The solution is already in front of us: Build all-electric, with technology that’s proven to work in every building we can. Electric heat pumps, water heaters, and induction cooktops can greatly help the transition to 100% clean energy. Plus, Washington’s electric utilities are mandated by state law to phase out all fossil fuel power sources and become 100% renewable. If natural gas was ever truly a “bridge” to renewable energy, we’ve certainly hit the end of that bridge.

From fracking fields to stovetops, gas pipelines leak methane, a heat-trapping gas over 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide. To put that in perspective, methane from U.S. gas operations harms the climate as much as annual tailpipe emissions from about 70 million cars.

Gas is so harmful to human health that transitioning to all-electric buildings is needed, climate crisis or not. From radioactive fracking waste to indoor air pollutants up to 100 times higher than outdoor safety limits, gas pollutes our bodies and our families. Numerous studies show children living in a home with a gas stove have a 42 percent higher chance of developing asthma.

We can’t keep using gas and maintain a livable climate or healthy communities. Phasing out gas, building electric, and improving energy efficiency must occur in concert. So let’s get to work!


Our electrification work in 2022

We’re already on our way. In 2022, RE Sources worked in partnership with several other organizations to urge the City of Bellingham to help pass an ordinance that requires new commercial buildings and new apartment buildings more than three stories high to use electricity for heating and water heating, meet certain energy-reduction standards, and use solar energy or provide rooftop space for eventual solar energy installation. It’s a great first step in transitioning away from harmful methane gas, though we know much is still left to accomplish.

Learn more at BuildElectricWA.org, a growing coalition of businesses and environmental, green building, energy efficiency, and community organizations.

Recommended Reading:

Why Electric?

Though climate change is a global challenge, the necessary solutions must happen at a local level. We’re going through transformative shifts in the way energy is produced, distributed, and consumed.

Renewables are booming, and Washington law requires the power grid to be fossil-free by 2045.

Electricity from solar and wind have skyrocketed in the past decade, and our region continues to be a hub for clean energy projects. Let’s tap into our increasingly renewable grid by choosing electric power instead of burning fossil fuels to heat buildings, and stop digging the hole deeper with new gas infrastructure — which locks us into decades of future fracked gas use.

Even with our current fossil fueled-power supply in Washington State, swapping out gas appliances for electric ones is a huge climate win, reducing the average household’s climate footprint by 50%the equivalent of completely giving up your car. The lowest-cost way to meet Washington’s commitment to 80% lower carbon emissions by 2050 relies on electrifying our buildings.

Gas causes respiratory problems and puts communities at risk

Homes with gas stoves have 50% to over 400% higher nitrogen dioxide levels in their indoor air than homes with electric stoves, which can lead to heart failure and asthma. Children in homes with gas stoves have a 42% increased risk of asthma symptoms.

There were 1,411 significant gas incidents from 2010 to 2019 — roughly one every three days — killing 109 people, seriously injuring 606 more, and causing over $3.5 billion in property damage, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration.

Moving to all-electric homes is a matter of equity

Just as utilities, cities and our state have led for cleaning up our electricity generation, we need them to lead on access to clean electric appliances — to equitably address the health impacts from burning gas indoors.

Indoor air quality issues can be particularly significant for low-income residents in smaller homes with gas appliances and inadequate ventilation.

Gas extraction often takes place on or near tribal or First Nations lands, creating health and safety risks for those indigenous communities, polluting groundwater and contributing to earthquakes.

Building electric means good-paying jobs

At the start of 2020, wind and solar power generation employed more than 460,000 American workers, more than twice as many jobs as for coal and gas-power. In Washington, more than half of electricity generation jobs are in solar and wind. Now, we can use modern electric appliances for heating, water heating and cooking that run on our increasingly clean electricity to reduce pollution from burning methane gas. Fully electric new construction today saves thousands in upfront costs, and is cleaner and safer.

 

Let’s Bring Renewables Online

When it comes to ensuring a 100% renewable energy future in Northwest Washington, there’s no silver bullet solution. Achieving the climate goals that our region and state have set out to achieve is going to take multiple tactics and policies brought online very quickly to address the urgency of the climate crisis.

In addition to electrifying just about everything we can (we call that decarbonization) and securing funding for clean energy, we’re also going to need to bring A LOT more renewable energy online. Why? So that in time, everything we’re electrifying is run entirely on clean, renewable energy and not fossil fuels.

We’re going to need to add more wind and solar to the grid, update our transmission to move all of that renewable energy around, upgrade battery storage options, and think about creative local solutions like microgrids.

Recommended reading:

Building Power in 2022

We are working to stop the needless restriction of small scale wind projects in Whatcom County, as well as advocating for policy changes that stop rigging the game toward fossil fuels and start supporting the transition to clean, reliable, renewable sources of electricity.

 

Show Us The Money

We’re engaging with members of our community to promote fair and equitable policies to phase out the use of fossil fuels for indoor heating over the next decade by making investments in electrification and efficiency while avoiding financial burdens for energy users and for workers during the clean energy transition. Tenants, workers, and builders all know the energy transition is underway.


Funding Clean Energy in 2022

In 2018, the City of Bellingham initiated a major update of its Climate Action Plan through the Climate Action Task Force. The Task Force identified numerous policy options and goals for Bellingham to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate impacts. But unsurprisingly, many of these policy options are expensive. The City budget is already strained by important spending priorities around the COVID-19 pandemic, housing costs, education, and more. But the City recognizes that delayed action on climate change will ultimately undermine the long term success of other key priorities, and that it can and should be tackled in tandem if we want to meet our 2030 climate goals. Therefore, the City is proposing a ballot initiative for November 2022 to create a Climate Action Fund to help implement many of the policies outlined in the Climate Action Plan.

Although the ballot initiative is still being drafted, the proposed plan would raise several million dollars each year through a property tax levy, which the Public Works Department could use to leverage matching State or Federal monies, or to fund other climate projects.

The City has outlined four initial priorities for the fund, including:

  • Rapid decarbonization of our electricity generation, such as purchasing renewable energy through a Public Utility District.
  • Energy efficiency and electrification upgrades in existing buildings, such as providing low-cost heat pumps or electric water heaters.
  • Encouraging and enabling the use of electric vehicles rather than gas/diesel vehicles such as installing more electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Protecting vulnerable populations from climate impacts, such as providing heating and cooling centers for extreme weather events.

 

 

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