Friday, March 20, 2009

Senate Bill 5840 to Slash Voter Approved Clean Energy Goals

In 2006 Washington State voters passed Initiative 937 which set the goal of obtaining 15% of our energy from new, clean, renewable energy sources by 2020. Reportedly at the urging of some utilities and business interests, Chris Marr D-Spokane, introduced Senate Bill 5840, which would essentially repeal the goals set in I-937, in February of this year. SB 5840 passed in the Senate on March 10th.

Now it moves on to the house with a public hearing before the House Committee on Technology, Energy and Communications scheduled in Olympia for March 25th at 8:00AM, at the John L. O'Brien Building, Hearing Room B.

1 comment:

2flit said...

After having read over sb 5840 and looked at the changes to I-937 that this bill makes. It is apparent that we have a serious problem. If any hydro under 30 megawatts is considered a renewable resource then we better increase the portfolio standards for the utilities targets. Instead we are reducing them to the lower of the I-937 targets or an individual utilities growth rate.
According to Senator Pridemore on the Senate Tech committee….. We would need to increase the portfolio standard to a 75% renewables if we are to include hydro in this mix.
His point is that I-937 was drafted to set a particular portfolio standard for the specific renewables that this initiative addressed. We wanted the specific resources mentioned to attain the targets mandated by this legislation. If we are to add a new resource category by calling hydro a renewable then we should create a separate portfolio standard for this Hydro resource. The intent of I-937 was to address the resource group that it was directed toward and to mandate a certain percentage of these specific renewables in the resource mix. It we want to set standards for other resources and non-qualified conservation then we should draft new legislation that sets for the portfolio standards that we feel are appropriate for them.

It may be true that Hydro is a renewable resource. It can be debated weather Hydro is environmentally benign. It can be debated whether Hydro that we installed in the 1800’s should be considered a renewable. BUT do not mix them up with the types of renewables that I-937 has specifically addressed.

My advice is to kill this bill and introduce a new bill if you wish to set additional standards for other resources; whatever class you chose to put them in.