(1) The legislature finds that Washington state currently derives many benefits from its renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. These sectors are an important source of employment and income for a significant number of Washington residents, currently generating close to one billion dollars in annual revenue and employing over three thousand eight hundred people. Equally important, energy efficiency and renewable energy businesses add to the region's quality of life by employing technologies that can reduce some of the harmful effects of the reliance on fossil fuels. Washington state possesses all the necessary elements to do much more to develop these sectors and to become a national leader in the research, development, manufacturing, and marketing of clean energy technologies and services. The state's workforce is highly educated; the state's higher education institutions are supportive of clean energy research and cooperate closely with the private sector in developing and deploying new energy technologies; there are numerous enterprises already located in the state that are engaged in clean energy research and development; and the state's citizens, utilities, and governmental sectors at all levels are committed to diversifying the state's energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.
(2) It is therefore declared to be the policy of the state that its public agencies and institutions of higher learning maximize their efforts collectively and cooperatively with the private sector to establish the state as a leader in clean energy research, development, manufacturing, and marketing. To this end, all state agencies are directed to employ their existing authorities and responsibilities to:
(a) Work with local organizations and energy companies to facilitate the development and implementation of workable renewable energy and energy efficiency projects;
(b) Actively promote policies that support energy efficiency and renewable energy development;
(c) Encourage utilities and customer groups to invest in new renewables and products and services that promote energy efficiency; and
(d) Assist in the development of stronger markets for renewables and products and services that promote energy efficiency.
(3) For the purposes of this section and *RCW 28B.20.296
and for *RCW 28B.20.285
, energy efficiency shall include the application of digital technologies to the generation, delivery, and use of power.