|Steve Klein, general manager of SnoPUD|
Snohomish County Public Utility District
This year, Washington state utilities showed an impressive continuing commitment to reducing energy use and carbon emissions. Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) edged out the competition by pursuing a broad range of activities, including conservation and savings programs and the exploration of renewable energy sources.
The utility’s biomass facilities power 25,000 homes and its wind energy powers 40,000 homes, accounting for 8 percent of its energy supply. The utility has also developed two small hydropower sites and is evaluating tidal energy sites in the Puget Sound and geothermal energy sites in the Cascade Mountains. The utility installed more than 50 customer-operated solar projects on home rooftops, and helped in the construction of the LEED Gold-certified Mukilteo City Hall.
In 2009, the PUD broke its all-time record for conservation, saving over 8 average megawatts per customer, cutting consu mers’ bills by $5.4 million, and avoiding 8,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Seattle Steam Co.
Last year, Seattle Steam Co. installed a biomass boiler that burns waste wood instead of natural gas. Even the ashes from the burning are used as additives in cement manufacturing and protective cover sealant for landfills. The biomass boiler brings Seattle Steam halfway to its goal of an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
Seattle City Light
Despite being the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States, Seattle City Light was the first electric utility to be greenhouse gas-neutral and remains so today. Last year, City Light launched new programs for commercial customers that resulted in savings of 63 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. Small businesses increased their participation in energy conservation programs by 62 percent. The utility also offers incentives for customers who install energy-efficient improvements in their homes and businesses.
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