Washington utilities report they're exceeding their I-937 energy efficiency targets — again

Initiative 937 keeps paying off with record energy savings for customers of Washington state’s largest utilities.

The 17 electric utilities covered by Washington’s Clean Energy Initiative have reported they’ve exceeded their Initiative 937 energy efficiency targets for 2012-13, collectively shattering their record savings total from the previous 2-year period (“biennium”).

2010-11 was the first biennium in which I-937 required affected utilities to set and achieve targets for capturing all cost-effective energy savings in their service territories. They achieved 229 average megawatts of savings for that period – enough to power all the homes in Tacoma and Spokane, Wash., combined. That savings total actually exceeded the collective total by more than 33%.

That was great news, then. The better news, now, is that they’ve done it again. For 2012-13, the 17 utilities set a collective target of 184.2-194.8 aMW (two utilities had target spans) and reported combined biennial savings of more than 248 aMW! In setting yet another achievement record, the utilities exceeded their own targets by 27-35%. This data is drawn from utility filings in June with the Department of Commerce.*

The even better news is that Washington families and businesses will pay lower bills than they would have without the energy efficiency efforts. And the best news is that the well of savings has barely been tapped. Utilities have again set lower targets for the next biennium than they’re currently achieving, but the first four years of I-937’s energy efficiency standard suggests they’ll more than likely blow past those forecasts again.

We’ll need to continue to increase those savings totals and expand what is considered “achievable” to reduce state global warming emissions in line with proposed new federal limits in the cheapest, easiest and quickest way for Washington utilities and consumers.

Click here for a chart showing each of the 17 utilities’ savings targets and achievements for the past two bienniums and their future targets.

Initiative 937, approved by Washington voters in 2006, requires utilities with 25,000 or more customers to gradually increase the percentage of new renewable resources in their power mix to 15% by 2020 and separately secure all the cost-effective energy efficiency they can.

*This utility data is unaudited and savings numbers may change following utility audits and regulatory review.