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Association of Washington Business holds Energy Summit

by Jedediah Hoyt

Kennewick Wash. — The energy debate is at the forefront of a lot of voters minds this election season. Lately, there's been a discussion on how to meet the needs of our state.

On Wednesday, the Association of Washington Business held their Energy Solutions Summit in Kennewick. The topics ranged from natural gas and hydroelectric power, to federal policy and even permitting and infrastructural challenges.

Kris Johnson, President and CEO of the Association of Washington Business says. "How do we preserve and maintain our energy leadership? Think the important role that the Snake River Dams play, natural gas, and others, and the nuclear reactor. How do we build, create, innovate and design for tomorrow and bring it all together?"

Eastern Washington could be a prime location for future sources of energy.

Johnson says. "This is a unique region, and it's providing unique leadership that is so needed in this state, to think about what is the system based approach to powering our economy and powering our future."

Representatives from Oregon, Arizona, and even Switzerland joined the discussion. Leaders say natural gas is a focus for our area, and could be a key player in decarbonization.

Dan Kirschner, Executive Director of the NW Gas Association says. "There's 45,000 miles of installed energy delivery infrastructure that is the natural gas system here in Washington state, and that infrastructure can ship a fuel that is different from conventional natural gas. Renewable natural gas, hydrogen blended in, or even in those instances where we have to use conventional natural gas, the carbon that it emits can be sequestered and used in other purposes."

We spoke with Fifth District Congresswoman, Kathy McMorris Rodgers, to see what other forms of energy could used in Eastern Washington.

She says. "We need to embrace American ingenuity and technology across the board. Yes the renewables, wind and solar, but also advanced nuclear reactors being developed right here in Washington state. Small nuclear reactors, next generation nuclear reactors where they recycle the fuel, exciting technology. Hydroelectricity is the largest renewable."

Energy leaders say that solutions are there, but often the problem can be strict state and local regulations.

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