Washington State’s Vision for Energy System Transformation

In April, Commerce’s Director, Brian Bonlender spoke at the IEEE-Northwest Energy Systems Symposium. The following is our summary of his speech. He discussed the many changes occurring in the electric energy industry. In Washington, we have a vision for our energy future—choosing strong, progressive policies based on what makes sense for our state and regional energy systems, environment and the long-term sustainability of our economy. The changes shaping Washington’s electric

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State delegation connects with new tech, new business in Germany

Following is a brief wrap-up from Commerce International Trade Specialist Andrew Crowder on this year’s ChooseWashington delegation to Hannover Messe 2018. Where could you see German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Pena Nieto fist bump a robot? Hannover Messe, of course! With 5,800 exhibitors and 210,000 professional trade visitors, “the Messe” is the largest industrial trade show in the world. The interplay between automation and energy technology, IT platforms

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Gov. Inslee approves Opportunity Zones in communities across Washington

Special designation provides federal tax incentives for development in low-income areas OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gov. Jay Inslee today approved 139 census tracts in 36 counties for “Opportunity Zone” status, enabling them to offer special federal tax breaks to encourage development and job creation. See a map and list of Washington’s newly designated Opportunity Zones. “Opportunity Zones have the potential to provide a much-needed boost to communities and target development projects,

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Governor’s Choose Washington NMA advisory council highlights statewide aerospace strength with visit to industry assets in Spokane

Over 120 companies in the Spokane area support industry employers across the world, including Boeing, making it America’s fifth largest aerospace cluster SPOKANE, Wash. – Gov. Jay Inslee’s Choose Washington NMA Council met in Spokane today, visiting the region’s aerospace assets that make the Inland Northwest the fifth largest aerospace cluster in the nation. “We are invested in maintaining the largest and finest aerospace workforce and production capabilities in the

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State Public Works Board approves first loans in five years for communities in need

$6 million in pre-construction loans awarded to 12 Washington communities OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Public Works Board approved 12 cities and counties for approximately $6 million in pre-construction loans for 2018. This is the first time in five years the board has had funding from the state Legislature to issue loans. The Board selected 12 out of 15 projects from applications requesting over $7.5 million. These projects will

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Legislative Session 2018

Special thanks to the members of Washington’s State Energy Office for their efforts this session! The 2018 session packed significant action into a short period. As a whole, the Department of Commerce set records for fiscal notes with 231 total requests. The Energy Division alone contributed 57 fiscal notes, coordinating fiscal & policy analyses on bills and z-drafts to match the session’s frenetic pace. The bills our team analyzed covered

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Weatherization, LIHEAP and State Energy Program funding in the Omnibus Bill

Three important energy-based programs saw an increase in federal spending in the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus spending bill that passed on March 23. Federal spending for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) grew $23 million to $251 million. WAP began in 1976. The Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) increased $250 million to $3.64 billion. LIHEAP began in 1981. https://thestateofpoverty.org/2018/03/26/in-case-you-missed-it-senate-passes-omnibus/ Together, they are critical to strengthening Washington communities by assisting

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Client Education is a Priority for the Weatherization Program

The Commerce Weatherization program has started work to standardize its client education material. In the past, each local agency developed their own client handouts. Sometimes there wasn’t enough information and sometimes the information was overwhelming. Now we will have a standardized resource book including brochures and internet links to help clients understand the importance of maintaining the work done by weatherization crews. Without solid, easy-to-understand information clients can’t obtain the

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NASCSP Celebrates Women

The National Association for State Community Services Programs is featuring Judy Darst in Women of Weatherization, a series of profiles for Women’s History Month. One of the most experienced people in Washington weatherization, Judy has worked both sides of the program as a weatherization field monitor and more recently in our office helping write policy. She started with the weatherization program in 2004 and has been going strong ever since.