“As a matter of national security, we cannot continue to rely so heavily on imported petroleum. Bioenergy...... will help reduce that dependence, help to create jobs in rural communities and support farming families.”
Governor Gregoire Announces Energy Freedom Loan Awards – July 13, 2006
Washington State spends $25 million a day on petroleum fuels, much of it imported from foreign sources. Bioenergy, renewable energy produced from organic matter, offers an alternative to importing foreign oil. Through the increased production and use of bioenergy from local resources, Washington State can move towards a more sustainable energy future. This future will benefit Washington’s rural economy by providing new jobs and will open doors for new markets, businesses and technologies throughout the state.
The Governor recognizes the important contribution that farming and forest management makes to our State, and has established the Working Lands Initiative to keep these sectors profitable and productive. By promoting the policy “Washington grown –Washington owned” the governor is encouraging the development of local products to meet many of our State’s resource needs.
The use of biofuels can help Washington State in other ways. In Executive Order 07-02, Governor Gregoire set ambitious goals for addressing climate change. By 2020, the state will reduce emissions to 1990 levels, and then reduce them by another 25 percent by 2035. By 2050, emissions from Washington will be fully 50 percent below our 1990 levels.
Biofuels can help in meeting these goals. In their 2006 report Impacts of Climate Change on Washington's Economy, the Washington State Department of Ecology identified biofuels as a key element in developing a climate change strategy for our state. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Mitigation of Climate Change”, also sees biofuels as playing “…an important role in addressing GHG emissions in the transport sector.”
In support of these efforts, Washington State is laying the groundwork for a statewide bioenergy industry by investing in a combination of research, legislation, incentives and public-private partnerships. BioEnergy Washington is a multi-agency group that supports these actions and is working towards the development of a bioenergy industry in Washington State. Members include the Washington State Departments of Agriculture, Ecology, Transportation and Licensing, the Washington State Conservation Commission, the Department of Community Trade and Economic Development, the Washington State University Extension Energy Program and the Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources and the University of Washington.