Source: Washington Department of Commerce, October 23, 2020
Don’t forget to visit the CETA rulemaking webpage
The Washington Department of Commerce filed proposed rule language on Oct. 21 to implement the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), Washington’s landmark clean electricity legislation enacted in 2019. The proposed rules will be published in November in the Washington State Register, and Commerce has scheduled a formal hearing and written comment opportunity on Dec. 2, 2020. The Legislature has directed Commerce to adopt rules implementing CETA by Dec. 31, 2020.
Commerce has posted the proposed rules and supporting documents on the CETA rulemaking webpage. These documents include the rule language, a marked up comparison to the second discussion draft, and a summary of stakeholder comments and agency responses. As explained in the formal notice of proposed rules (called a CR-102), Commerce determined that a small business economic statement is not required under the Regulatory Fairness Act (Chapter 19.85 RCW).
Overview of the Proposed Rules
Highlights of the proposed rules include the following provisions:
- Establish content and process requirements for clean energy implementation plans (CEIPs). These rules will ensure that utilities plan and execute CETA as the Legislature envisioned. CEIPs are prepared and submitted on a four-year cycle, starting in 2022. They must include targets and actions that demonstrate progress toward the 2030 and 2045 standards.
- Establish requirements for utilities to evaluate and report the equity and distributional effects of their clean energy transformation actions. This includes a requirement to involve customers and other stakeholders in planning and implementation.
- Provide a methodology for use if a utility exercises a cost limitation provision in CETA.
- Provide a methodology for incorporating the cost of greenhouse gas emissions into resource evaluation and acquisition decisions.
- Require that utilities adopt standards to ensure adequate and reliable electricity.
- Establish verification approaches for various standards in CETA, such as the requirement to eliminate use of coal-fired resources after 2025 and methods to verify that a utility is using renewable or non-emitting electricity.
- Provide standards for thermal renewable energy credits. Thermal RECs represent the non-electricity heat output of a combined heat and power process, typically at an industrial facility.
The proposed rules are consistent with the second discussion draft published in August. Commerce streamlined and clarified a number of provisions based on extensive stakeholder feedback at workshops and in written comments. Several changes reflect the agency’s effort to align its CETA rules with those of the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) and the Department of Ecology.
Update on 2030 Greenhouse Gas Neutral standard
Omitted from the proposed rules are draft sections to clarify a requirement under the 2030 greenhouse gas neutral standard to use renewable or non-emitting electricity in an amount equal to 100% of a utility’s retail electric load. These provisions were WAC sections 194-40-320 and -410 in the second discussion draft. Commerce and the UTC agreed to defer rules on this issue to allow for additional comments from stakeholders. Commerce may issue interpretative guidance after receiving additional input and may adopt a rule in 2021.