Resolution for Battery Energy Storage Systems to Assist in the Clean Energy Transition in King County

September 20, 2023

WHEREAS, The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46 supports development of Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) projects in King County and,

WHEREAS, with the County’s commitment to clean energy and sustainability, these systems are a critical component of the transition towards a greener and more resilient energy grid. The reasons for this are simple and well recognized – as we work to meet the requirements of the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), our communities will become increasingly reliant on intermittent sources such as wind and solar and, therefore, increasingly vulnerable to service disruptions. By storing surplus energy from renewable sources like wind and solar, these systems are critical for ensuring the lights can stay on while enabling the County and state to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions and,

WHEREAS, King County experiences a wide range of weather conditions, including frequent extreme events in the summer and winter that strain the grid. We have also seen other factors increasing the demand for electricity, such as population growth and the proliferation of electric vehicles. The challenges were evidenced by Puget Sound Energy’s request over the summer that residents curtail energy usage during peak periods to avoid service disruptions and,

WHEREAS, battery energy storage systems provide a reliable solution to store excess renewable energy generated during periods of abundance, such as sunny days, and discharge it when demand is high or during grid disruptions, ensuring a continuous and uninterrupted power supply for residents and businesses and,

WHEREAS, the critical need for these projects explains why utilities are requesting proposals from developers. They are also identifying the areas best suited for these resources, which is driving siting decisions throughout King County. Importantly, BESS facilities have to be placed close to points of interconnection, which in more urbanized areas like King County means they will always have proximity to population centers, similar to other forms of high-voltage infrastructure that we co-exist with every day and

WHEREAS, it is vital that Seattle Building Trades workers are centrally involved in the development of BESS infrastructure. We have the experience, expertise, and integrity to ensure projects are built with the highest safety standards, and we were encouraged when the developer behind the proposed project in Covington signed an agreement committing to using local union labor for construction earlier this year.

Beyond the energy benefits, BESS projects bring the promise of hundreds of jobs for skilled construction workers. The jobs required by this project are high-paying, family-wage opportunities, and our ongoing involvement in the clean energy transition allows our members to continue growing skills and knowledge that will enable them to be a part of building Washington’s energy future for years to come.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AT that MLK Labor will work with IBEW Local 46 and the Seattle King County Building Trades to lobby for union built BESS projects countywide.

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