Washington Clean Energy Legislation Update

Source: Amy Wheeless, Policy Associate, NW Energy Coalition, (206) 621-0094, amy@nwenergy.org.

With all of the important climate and energy legislation that passed in the 2019 legislative session here in Washington, there now come many rulemakings to implement the intent of that legislation. Many of the deadlines for which rulemakings need to conclude are in the legislation – most will happen now through 2020, while others can extend into 2021 or further. We wanted to give you some information on when and where those rulemakings are happening and how NW Energy Coalition staff is engaging. We have also linked this content on our website and will be updating that page as new proceedings or dockets arise and as rulemakings complete.

Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA, or implementing SB 5116)

As our digest highlights, there are many components to CETA, and thus there will be multiple rulemakings, across multiple state agencies. NW Energy Coalition staff are deeply involved in the Commerce and UTC rulemakings; plan to provide expert guidance and advocacy in the Ecology rulemaking; and will be observing the Department of Health and LNI rulemakings to provide advice where needed. If you have any questions, contact Joni Bosh at joni@nwenergy.org.

The Department of Commerce is leading on developing rules for consumer owned utilities, and will be co-leading on specific items with other state agencies.  More information on upcoming meetings and workshops is available on the website, as well as many documents and stakeholder comments to date. There is also a sign-up on the right-hand side of the linked page if you want to be kept directly informed of upcoming meetings and comment periods.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) will be leading development of rules for investor owned utilities and will be co-leading some rulemakings and processes that apply to all utilities with the Department of Commerce. At this time, there are five particularly relevant UTC dockets associated with CETA requirements:

  • U-190485 provides an overall approach and timeline for how the UTC will approach the rulemaking needs of CETA.
  • UE-190652 is a rulemaking related to aligning the requirements of the Energy Independence Act with the requirements of CETA. Initial comments in this docket are due November 4.
  • UE-190698 is a rulemaking related to amending the integrated resource planning (IRP) process to align with CETA requirements. There are not yet any meetings or comment periods scheduled in this docket.
  • UE-190760 is a coordinated discussion docket with Commerce on a Carbon and Electricity Markets Workgroup. The first meeting on this matter occurred on October 24.
  • UE-190837 is a rulemaking related to amending Purchases of Electricity rules in light of CETA and other changes in the electricity market place. There are not yet any meetings or comment periods scheduled in this docket.

If you are interested in being on the service list for a particular docket, email records@utc.wa.gov to request to be added to the service list and reference the docket number.

The Department of Health will be developing a cumulative impact analysis (CIA) of the impacts of both climate change and fossil fuels on population health, in order to designate highly impacted communities. Some of the data from this CIA will then be used to inform electric utilities’ plans toward meeting the requirements of CETA. Interested parties can sign up on the mailing list here. The last meeting in this docket was September 25 and there is not a currently scheduled meeting.

The Department of Ecology will be leading the rulemaking associated with identifying what activities or measures as clean energy transformation projects, which can be used for compliance with some CETA requirements between 2030 and 2045. Ecology will also be coordinating with Commerce on identifying the greenhouse gas emission factors associated with electricity. Meetings will begin in January. To keep updated on this rulemaking, you can sign up here.

The Department of Labor and Industries (LNI) will be doing emergency rulemaking needed associated with the labor standard preferences for renewable project tax exemptions. They have held one workshop already, with the next scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, October 30, and a third meeting on November 13th. Contact Beverly Clark at 360-902-6272 to be included on a notification list.

Clean Buildings Act (implementing HB 1257)

The Clean Buildings Act, as our digest elaborates on, contains four main policies: a building performance standard, gas utility conservation standards, gas utility renewable natural gas requirements, and electric vehicle readiness in new buildings. NW Energy Coalition staff will be very engaged in many of these rulemakings. Contact Amy Wheeless at amy@nwenergy.org for any questions.

  • The law directs the Department of Commerce to develop building performance standards for large (> 50,000 square feet) existing commercial buildings by November 2020. The kick-off webinar will be October 30 and five in-person meetings are currently scheduled in November and December. More information is on Commerce’s website, and interested parties can sign up on the right-hand side of the linked website for email updates.
  • The UTC will be leading rulemaking associated with the gas conservation standards, but will likely not start this process until sometime in 2020.
  • The UTC will also be coordinating any process or needed rulemaking around the use of renewable natural gas. Docket U-190818 is open to have these discussions, and an initial meeting is scheduled October 29.
  • The State Building Code Council will be where the rulemaking associated with electric vehicle readiness requirements in new buildings will happen. There is not currently a rulemaking document.

Appliance Efficiency Standards (implementing HB 1444)

The Department of Commerce is managing the rulemaking that will set 17 state efficiency standards in law and provide a requirement for electric storage water heaters to be enabled with a grid-ready technology. Initial meetings happened in August and September, and it is likely that this rulemaking will be complete by the end of 2019. You can sign-up on the right-hand side of the page for any updates. The NW Energy Coalition is involved in this rulemaking; contact amy@nwenergy.org for any questions.