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Inslee Wants to Promote Green Energy – Here’s How It Might Succeed

Headquarters of failed green energy firm Solyndra
(getty images)

One of Gov. Inslee’s big goals announced in his inaugural address was to champion a green economy.

Sounding very much like the Obama administration, Inslee’s campaign plan was full of ideas and blueprints for creating green jobs in a green economy. We have seen a dismal failure in D.C. with companies such as Solyndra with millions wasted and 1,200 jobs lost. Yet, a green economy could work.

Critics are not saying Inslee shouldn’t try to boost employment by supporting green energy jobs, but he needs to learn from the failures of the federal government.

The non-partisan Washington Policy Center has some thoughts on how Inslee could affordably pursue green strategies that might actually work:

Comparing strategies based on the amount of CO2 reduced for each dollar would allow taxpayers to receive the maximum amount of environmental benefit for every dollar. Continuing to fund strategies that waste time and money will simply make addressing carbon emissions more difficult and expensive in the future.

It’s pretty simple: Take a look at what programs actually delivered results, customize and pursue them, then discard strategies that have proven to be wastes of taxpayer money.

According to the most reliable data available from the Pew Institute (from 2001-2009)  Washington had a very poor ranking for reducing carbon emissions by dropping only 2.7 percent. Similarly, California — a state that has heavily invested in green energy (especially wind power) — saw only a drop of 3 percent.

Oregon, which Pew says is the nation’s leader in green jobs, saw its carbon emissions RISE by 1.5 percent.

If Inslee truly wants to make green energy work, he needs to pay close attention to what kind of return the state is getting on its environmental investments. If the federal government report card is any indication, it’s going to be difficult to pull off.

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