Washington state has an abundant supply of hydroelectric power and currently gets less than 14 percent of its electricity from coal. Gov. Jay Inslee wants to take that down to zero over time.
To wean the state off coal-generated power, Inslee will have to persuade the state's three private electric utilities to reduce or eliminate electricity they get from plants in Montana and Wyoming.
Puget Sound Energy, Pacific Power and Avista Corp. say coal-fired electricity is reliable, cost-effective and part of a diverse portfolio that includes hydropower, natural gas and wind. For now, it will remain in their long-term plans.
Saying the state has a moral responsibility to act on climate change, Inslee signed an executive order that directed state agencies to negotiate with utilities to phase out coal-produced electricity.