WSU Needs Over 1 Billion Dollars To Move Away From Natural Gas Campus Heat To Comply With State Mandate

It’s going to cost over 1 billion dollars for Washington State University to convert its campus heating system away from natural gas as mandated by the legislature.

Majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature passed the Climate Commitment Act in 2021 which was signed by Democrat Governor Jay Inslee.  To comply with the natural gas ban in the act WSU needs to replace its steam plants.  The largest plant on Grimes Way cost taxpayers 41 million dollars and was brought online in 2004 to heat campus.  WSU wants to move to a heat pump plant to keep campus warm.  The work will also involve retrofitting 7 miles of steam tunnels on the Pullman campus.  Those tunnels are used to heat 151 buildings totaling 8.8 million square feet of space.

WSU is asking the legislature for 10 million dollars in capital funding during the current session to begin the project.  A WSU lobbyist recently told state lawmakers that moving to heat pumps from natural gas will cost over 1 billion dollars.  The Washington State Senate has included the 10 million dollars in its proposed capital budget.