Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is good for the Earth and the humans who live on it. Given that, it’s no surprise Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to study reducing greenhouse gas emissions had bipartisan (mostly Democratic) support when it won final approval of the Legislature last week.
But limiting the scope of the study so it does not look at all viable options as well as the economic realities will produce an incomplete look at things.
A Republican amendment to Inslee’s proposal calling for consideration of hydropower and the long-term viability of solar and wind energy was defeated along party lines. The rejection is based on politics, not reality.
Hydropower is clearly renewable energy. The same water can be used over and over again, and it is. Water flow down the Snake and Columbia rivers through the turbines in a dam and then moves on to the next dam until it eventually makes it to the sea.
Democrats rejected the amendment because it could undercut Initiative 937, which requires large utilities to increase the amount of power obtained from renewable sources — specifically wind, solar, geothermal and certain woody biomass — until it reaches at least 15 percent by 2020. Hydropower is not included because backers of the initiative wanted to give an edge to wind, solar, etc.
Not having hydro included is ridiculous. So, too, is not considering the viability of wind and solar power, which are now heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
Even now, not all of the electricity generated by wind is used. Some simply goes to waste because the transmission lines are overloaded. That has to be considered.
To be clear, harvesting energy from the wind and sun are fantastic. However, if generating that power is prohibitively expensive over time, then the future of wind or solar is dubious.
When looking for ways to meet our energy needs while reducing harm to the environment, it is essential it be done with eyes wide open. Ignoring critical aspects that should contribute to making well-reasoned decisions is foolish.
The study, which will be conducted by an outside consultant, is expected to review Washington’s ongoing efforts to cut carbon emissions and juxtapose it with efforts elsewhere.
We can always hope the outside consultant looks past politics to deliver a report rooted in reality and of use in curbing greenhouse gases.