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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Bringing together elected leaders from Washington and Oregon to discuss ways to accelerate the transition to safe, renewable energy

Summary

The alliance of local elected leaders from across the Pacific Northwest working together to protect communities from the growing risks and impacts of oil and coal transport is exploring ways to accelerate the transition to safe, renewable energy.

Story

King County Executive Dow Constantine today brought together elected leaders from Washington and Oregon to discuss ways to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and establish the Pacific Northwest as a leader in the clean-energy economy.

It was the latest meeting of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, a coalition of more than 160 elected city, county, state and Tribal leaders from the across the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Members discussed the change in the federal landscape under the Trump administration and ways to update regulations in West Coast states to support renewable energy resources and infrastructure.

“One way we can protect our communities from the growing risks and impacts of oil and coal transport is to accelerate the transition to safe, renewable energy,” said Executive Constantine. “The shift to clean energy is going to happen whether the U.S. chooses to lead the change, or cede the field to others. Members of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance are committed to making the Pacific Northwest a global leader in this transition.”

The elected leaders are exploring policy changes that would better support renewable energy, and give local governments more options to use their combined buying power to help accelerate the transition to safe, clean energy. State energy regulations were developed decades ago, before the advent of new technologies for solar and wind power, battery storage, and grid management. Members of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance want to update state regulations to level the playing field for renewable energy.

The rapidly growing clean-energy economy

The clean-energy economy is rapidly growing, both domestically and internationally. More Americans today are installing wind turbines and solar panels than are digging for coal.

The wind industry employed 102,500 people in 2016 and is expected to employ 380,000 people by 2030, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Solar power represented 39 percent of new electric capacity added to the grid in 2016.

Many local governments – including King County, Multnomah County and Portland – are adopting ambitious commitments to renewable sources of energy. The Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, which Executive Constantine first convened in 2014, provides the opportunity for local governments to share best practices and speak with a unified voice when advocating for updated energy regulations.

During the meeting today in Seattle, members also discussed how the new federal administration has impacted oil transport safety, review of fossil fuel infrastructure siting, and review of federal coal leasing policies.

This was first meeting of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance since February when members toured the site of a major oil-train derailment and explosion in Mosier, Ore. Members have previously met in Everett, Olympia, Tacoma, Portland, and, Vancouver, British Columbia.


Relevant links


Quotes

One way we can protect our communities from the growing risks and impacts of oil and coal transport is to accelerate the transition to safe, renewable energy. The shift to clean energy is going to happen whether the U.S. chooses to lead the change, or cede the field to others. Members of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance are committed to making the Pacific Northwest a global leader in this transition.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive and Chair of the Safe Energy Leadership Alliance

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

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