Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
NEEA Signing Ceremony
March 16, 2000
Thanks, Margie, for those kind words…and thank all of you for being here today.
The Alliance Is Great
I'm with John. Salmon don't understand state boundaries. Rivers flow, leaves blow…the earth and its creatures couldn't care less about the lines we draw to separate one state from another. That's why this Alliance and its long-term view are so important.
Today we celebrate an environmental and economic success story. The Alliance is flying through our region like a superhero…proving over and over that efficient energy use is appealing on an economic as well as an environmental level. Proving that a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand-that families and businesses can thrive alongside a healthy environment. People want to make environmentally-correct choices, but they also want to make the financially smart choices. This Alliance is making sure they can do both.
Wednesday, I went to a party. A celebration. After seventeen years and 120 million dollars, the waste processing plant in Kent is finally cleaned up. 17 years, lots of work, and 120 million dollars to clean up one site. That teaches us a tremendous lesson…that we must focus on prevention…that we must reduce our use of materials and energy that harm the environment. And one of those ways is to start using clean energy.
The Alliance has invested half as much money-doing things like co-funding a furnace upgrade here at Siemens. The results were so stunning that Siemens went out bought those energy-efficient furnaces for ten of their production lines. The Alliance's investments to date will bring us a 600 million dollar return over the next 20 years. 600 million that would have been spent buying dirty energy. And that's the calculated return from before the domino effect kicks in. This Alliance has been successful beyond our wildest expectations-even my daughter wants to know when we're going to get a front-load washer, and she's only three.
Being Environmentally Smart is Economically Smart
What some call environmental cutting edge today they'll be calling economic genius tomorrow.
Look at the numbers.
Today almost 90% of the electricity consumed in America comes from fossil and nuclear fuel. Big companies investing lots of dollars in researching energy predict that within just 50 years, clean sources will supply half of the world's energy.
I call that a potential market of trillions of dollars. And here in Washington, clean energy is already a billion dollar industry…that's quite a seedbed…And this seedbed looks an awful lot like that little seedbed of high tech we had at one time…which blossomed into a veritable empire. We could be the clean energy empire. It's that simple.
The old way of thought was: if it's environmentally smart, it's economically diseased, and if it's economically smart, it's environmentally threatening. But it's not like that anymore. And people are just beginning to understand that. So we're on the threshold of an energy-use revolution. And if we're smart, we'll stay a step ahead of the market-and provide the clean energy decade with the tools it needs…the solar panels, biomass, wind power, fuel cells… Let's invest our energy in working towards clean energy.
The Northwest is already playing an important role in the clean energy revolution. We've got the world's largest assembler of solar packages in Lacey. We've got Northwest Power Systems making fuel cells in Bend. Earth Day is headquartered in Seattle this year...with a Clean Energy theme…and right here at Siemens, we're manufacturing 20 percent of the world's solar cells!
Now let's move from "important role" to "leadership." Let's sell clean energy to the world…and I don't just mean in concept.
It's my honor, today, to renew my commitment-Washington's commitment-to the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. It's a commitment to making our region a great place to live, to work, and to raise a family.
Thank you very much.