By Jonathan OatisThe US is spending more than £1.5bn on a $3bn thermal plant in Puget Sound, and more than a dozen state and local governments are also making big commitments to build similar plants.
The US Department of Energy said on Tuesday it had signed an agreement to build two new plants in the Puget Shores region of Washington state, the first in the country.
The $3.9bn (£2bn) project, which is being funded by a $1.6bn loan from the National Energy Board, will provide thermal power for about 4,000 homes in the area, as well as a nearby transmission line for local power supplies.
“Puget Sound is a major, major power producer in the state of Washington and we are committed to working together to meet the challenges of climate change,” said Steven Hirsch, head of the Pugeteer Power Plant Group, which owns the plant.
The plant’s first two units are expected to start operating in 2021, and it will also supply electricity to homes in Washington state’s interior, where temperatures often soar above 90C.
Washington state has struggled to reduce emissions because of the burning of coal and oil in power stations.
Its Governor Jay Inslee and a coalition of local, state and federal leaders have said they want to cut emissions by 40% by 2030.
But the state’s electric grid is still struggling to cope with the increasing use of renewable energy, and some people in the region have been struggling to get electricity in and out of their homes.
More than 20,000 people have been without power for more than two months, and the number of outages has risen.
The power plant’s construction was delayed several times because of a legal dispute between the company and a local environmental group.
In June, a federal judge denied the company’s bid to build the plant on federal land near Seattle.