RICHLAND, Wash. –
Washington Governor Jay Inslee spoke at Washington State University Tri-Cities campus in Richland to preview the budget and legislative proposals related to climate action.
Gov. Inslee proposed the Institute for Northwest Energy Futures (INEF) for the WSU Tri-Cities campus that still needs to pass state legislature.
Gov. Inslee says, “It’s time for the world to look for Washington State University and the Tri-Cities community and the innovative capability of the state Washington to develop the clean energy resources that the world needs.”
Gov. Inslee says there is a $10-million appropriation request to get the institute started.
WSU Chancellor Sandra Haynes says if the institute passes legislation and they begin building at the Tri-Cities campus, the university will hire eight to ten professors to teach courses in clean energy.
A large part of the production of clean energy resources in the Tri-Cities is Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
PNNL Deputy Director Malin Young says this institute at WSU Tri-Cities will give them a better guide for a future with more renewable energies.
“As we look to a decarbonized future we really need to be thoughtful of how different technologies can best work together in an integrated energy system,” says Young. “And how to deploy these technologies in a way that is both equitable and resilient.”
PNNL is not the only organization involved in finding clean energy sources. PNNL works with WSU Tri-Cities to research clean energy development.
Washington State University President Kirk Schulz says the school will continue to help their local partners find new ways to make clean energy.
Schulz says, “As Washington’s land grant university I want us to be tackling the tough problems. We don’t want to work on the margins.”
Gov. Inslee says the institute will focus on multiple clean energy resources including biofuels, modular reactors, batteries. transmission lines, energy storage and green hydrogen.
Gov. Inslee says the most important resource, “is not buried in the ground as fossil fuels, it is a resource above our shoulders in our brains, in our kids’ brains and in our grandchildrens’ brains.”
Chancellor Haynes says the institute could begin construction and hiring in the next year or two depending on when legislature passes the proposal.