State Republicans Seek Weakening of Clean Energy Rules

Efforts to retreat on state clean energy measures brought high-energy testimony from industry supporters on Tuesday.

Testimony for two Senate bills aimed at easing clean energy requirements enshrined in a 2006 initiative spilled over Tuesday, running so long that testimony for a third had to be postponed.

All three take aim at requirements for power companies in Washington to get part of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.  Washington voters passed the requirements, designed to take effect gradually, in the form of 2006 Initiative 937. While none of the three scheduled for Tuesday proposed changing the timeline itself, all three proposed widening how power companies could meet the clean energy requirements.

The primary argument in favor of the bills Tuesday was that easing the requirements would make energy cheaper for power companies, who would in turn pass the savings on to their customers.

Read the full story at the source:  Tom James, CrossCut, February 13, 2013.

  • SB 5432 would loosen the definition of renewable energy — by including power generated by dams — so much that, in effect, no change would be required to comply with the bill. Already, more of Washington’s electricity is produced by dams than the 15 percent ultimately required by the initiative.
  • SB 5438 and SB 5648 would allow power companies to carry over renewable energy credits from one year to the next. SB 5648 also would allow exempt from clean energy requirements the electricity from pre-2010 power plants or electricity bought under pre-2010 contracts from clean energy, allowing utilities that aren’t expanding to avoid having to change the ways they produce power.