Features

Independent Money Pours into Seattle City Council Races

Though the primary election is Tuesday and the general election is still months away, independent spending on the races has surpassed $275,000. That’s double the outside money spent on primary- and general- election council races in 2009, when independent-expenditure committees chipped in $134,495.

Which Is Cheaper — Rooftop Solar Or Utility-Scale Solar?

The study found that the cost of generating energy from 300 MW of utility-scale PV solar is roughly one-half the cost per kWh of electricity produced from an equivalent 300 MW of 5kW residential-scale systems when deployed on the Xcel Energy Colorado grid. The study also concluded that 300 MW of PV solar deployed in a utility-scale configuration avoids approximately 50% more carbon emissions than an equivalent amount of residential-scale PV solar.

Eleven Maps That Explain Energy in America

Wind has been rising fast, albeit from a low base. In 2008, wind provided just 1 percent of the nation’s electricity. That’s gone up to 4.9 percent in the first half of 2015 as turbines have sprouted up around the country. For all the hype it gets, solar power still plays only a small role in the US energy system — providing around 0.6 percent of electricity in the first half of 2015.

Latest Eyman Initiative Could Blow $1.4 Billion Hole in State Budget

Initiative 1366, Tim Eyman’s latest attempt to force “super majorities” to pass revenue measures in the Legislature, has qualified for the November ballot, the Secretary of State’s office announced Wednesday. On the same day, however, the state’s Office of Financial Management reported it could blow a $1.4 billion hole in the state’s budget in FY 2017, its first year fully in effect, rising to $1.653 billion by 2010.

Sources: EPA Will Ease Deadlines on Pollution Rule to Help States Comply

The Environmental Protection Agency will give states an additional two years — until 2022 — to begin phasing in pollution cuts, even as the agency toughens the standards that many states will ultimately have to meet. The revelations come less than a week before the administration is expected to announce the final version of the regulation.

Elway Poll: Inslee Approval Down Slightly

Only 30 percent of voters contacted for a recent survey by The Elway Poll say they’d definitely vote to re-elect him in 2016. But the news for the GOP isn’t so good either. Only 25 percent said they’re inclined right now to vote for a Republican for governor in 2016. Some 17 percent want another Democratic choice, and 28 percent are undecided.

Health Care Spending Growth Trends: Keeping An Eye On Spending Per Person

New health spending data for 2014 and spending projections over the next decade from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary were just published in Health Affairs. They show that total growth in health spending picked up in 2014; this was expected given the significant expansion of insurance coverage and the release of expensive new drugs for hepatitis C.

State Schools Chief Blasts Legislature for ‘Failing’ Education Funding Mandate

In a report filed this week with the Washington Supreme Court, Dorn argues that justices should continue to hold the Legislature in contempt. Dorn admits that lawmakers did approve an additional $1.5 billion for kids. But they totally failed, he argues, on two big mandates set out by the court: reducing the reliance on local levies; and approving a plan to solve all schools funding problems by 2018.

Bypassing Legislature, Inslee Turns to Executive Action on Climate Change

Taking a page from President Barack Obama, Gov. Jay Inslee is bypassing reluctant lawmakers to combat climate change through regulation. But he opted against pursuing a low-carbon fuel standard that would have jeopardized mass-transit funding. The Democratic governor told his administration Tuesday to develop a cap on emissions of greenhouse gases so Washington can meet its commitment to cut 1990-level emissions in half by 2050.