Gov. Jay Inslee got his first glimpse of electric ferries that are intended to be built in Washington state Sept. 19 in Norway.
“It’s very exciting to me, to see the first electric ferries I’ve ever seen in Oslo Harbor. I almost broke down,” he said.
With an agenda focused on business partnerships and innovative approaches to energy, technology, sustainability and resilience to climate change in the region, Inslee said he was “shocked” about the willingness of top leadership to meet with the delegation.
“We’ve had good discussions with a whole host of leadership, which have the capacity of helping build our economy and fighting climate change at the same time with technologies in batteries, in electronics, in clean steel, hydrogen, ammonia and in electric ferries,” Inslee said.
Inslee met with leaders to discuss reducing climate change gasses by 95%, and also learned about a company that has aspirations to build a 30-seat electric airplane.
“We’ve probably met six companies that, in one form or another, potentially could be engaging in hiring people in Washington state with some very significant transitional technologies that the world desperately needs,” Inslee said.
Inslee said the delegation met two new battery companies that are looking at a new technology in the state. The delegation met with a company that is developing offshore wind technology and learned about its use of 5G technology that could be used in ports to reduce energy use.
“This transition to clean energy is happening so fast, and when you talk to business leaders, their main concern is the speed of permitting because they want to get their doors open,” Inslee said. The state has changed some permitting processes with siting energy facilities, and is interested in getting more resources for Department of Ecology to make permitting evaluations at a more rapid pace.
Inslee said the Scandinavian countries have had a multi-decade head start in transitioning to clean energy, but they recognize that Washington state has been a leader in development of new industries and is making enormous investments thanks to new federal legislation.
“I think people who have anxiety because of the threats of climate change would be pleased with people who are coming up with solutions,” Inslee said.