Going with the Wind: Snoqualmie announces plan to run on Wind Power in 2019

The City of Snoqualmie recently announced that by 2019, its facilities will operate on green power as part of a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) initiative.

The City Council approved a 15-year renewable energy agreement with PSE’s Green Direct Program, a new option for government and large-commercial power users in Washington. That power will be bought from a new wind farm to be developed in the state.

Via press release Mayor Larson said, “We were very excited at the opportunity to power all city facilities with green power -even more so because it may save us funds compared to the standard future options. We applaud PSE’s efforts to grow a collaborative new wind project, both reducing climate emissions and developing an asset that contributes to stable, low energy rates.”

Several other Washington cities have joined the Green Direct Program, including Anacortes, Bellevue, and Mercer Island, as well as government entities such as Western Washington University, Sound Transit, and King County. Commercial customers include Target, Starbucks, and REI.

The City of Snoqualmie is also a member of the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C) – a consortium between 13 regional cities and King County tasked with reducing climate pollution – which has also sought to partner with PSE to develop additional green power alternatives in Washington.

Many K4C partners committed to a goal of 90% renewable energy for their communities, including government operations, by 2030. The city says the Green Direct Program is an important step toward this goal and builds on PSE’s growing investments in renewable energy sources and Seattle City Light’s existing carbon neutral energy portfolio.


[The King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C) is a climate consortium of King County and the cities of Bellevue, Burien, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Normandy Park, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, and Tukwila.]






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  • Why wind, when there is already a renewable local energy source (Snoqualmie Falls)?

  • Great question, Matthew. I often wondered the same and have argued (and still do) that Snoqualmie has been using clean carbon free electricity for over 100 years. Unfortunately, PSE is a regional power provider. Thus, State regulations only allow us to take credit for what we receive from PSE’s regional system/power sources (not immediately local) which includes natural gas and coal powered plants. It is a regulatory framework somewhat devoid of reality. Regardless, we liked the Green Direct Program offer for two reasons. First, it provided a predictable stable electricity cost for the next 15 years. It operates like a hedge fund. If inflationary cost are less than 2% per year, we could end up paying a little more. If the cost increases are higher than 2%, we could end up saving money for the City. Either way it provides predictability for our budgeting purposes. The second reason is to support clean power projects and initiatives. –Mayor Matt Larson

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful response. That’s unfortunate that State regulations are biased against crediting local clean power generation. In a purely hypothetical case where there were wind turbines installed all over Snoqualmie Valley, would the same lack of local green credit apply?

  • http://www.island-power.org/faq/current-monthly-rates-public-utilities-vs-pse/
    Conclusion – PSE Rates are Higher than Nearly All Public Utilities, by as much as 43% higher.
    The city has committed itself to a 15 year contract (down from a 20 year contract). I worked for a city that sells electricity to residents – where the residents save money on their utility bill. That city negotiated 20 contracts for two years – for an amount less than their average usage in the event there would be an unanticipated change in amount used. For the remainder of their power needs, there were daily specials that come from a variety of power plants so they would take advantage of “deals” on electricity. I actually saw checks coming from their equivalent of PSE in southern CA. I went to the meeting when they were mulling this over and shared my experiences. I could tell from the looks on their faces that my testimony was “out there” for them.
    Riverside also sold electricity to other cities’ residents. This was a great revenue generator.

  • Did you know that PSE is owned by a company in Australia?
    Macquarie Group Limited

  • In other parts of the country 1 company owns the power-lines, poles ect and other companies
    supply the electricity making bidding for your business a good thing. PSE is a monopoly and should be dealt with.

  • Living Snoqualmie