In 2006 Washington State voters passed ballot initiative 937 by a 52 to 48 percent margin requiring that electricity providers in the state generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by the year 2020.
The percentage is designed to mirror the anticipated energy use increase in the state of 15 percent by 2020. The bill essentially mandates that all new power will be derived from renewable resources and not fossil fuels. The Union of Concerned Scientists USA (UCSUSA), a group dedicated to environmental solutions, determined that the bill will provide the following benefits for the state of Washington:
- 2.9 percent, or $1.13 billion, in savings on consumer electricity bills
- 2,000 new jobs in manufacturing, construction, operation, maintenance, and other industries
- $138 million in additional income and a $148 million increase in gross state product
- $2.9 billion in new capital investment
- $30 million in income to rural landowners from wind power land leases
- $167 million in new property tax revenues or payment in lieu of taxes for local communities
The bill was the second voter mandated renewable energy bill to pass in the country and is seen by many as another example of Washington State setting itself apart as a leader in the development of renewable energy.