The second of two bills that would drastically impact the Washington State Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) was recently introduced in the Washington State Legislature. HB 1890 would cut in half the amount of energy utilities are required to obtain from new renewable resources, and also allow them to offset renewable energy requirements with energy from fresh water sources and sources that predate March 31, 1999.

Currently, electric utilities in Washington that serve more than 25,000 customers are required to obtain the following percentages of their electricity from new renewable resources:

  • At least 3% by January 1, 2012
  • At least 9% by January 1, 2015
  • At least 15% by January 1, 2020

This has been the case since the passage of the Washington Energy Independence Act (EIA) in 2006. HB 1890 would cut these percentages in half -- requiring eligible utilities to acquire only 1.5% of their energy from renewable sources by 2012, only 4.5% by 2015, and only 7.5% by 2020.

In addition, the EIA treats as eligible only incremental electricity produced as a result of efficiency improvements completed after March 31, 1999 and excludes energy from fresh water resources. HB 1890, however, would count as eligible all electricity from an existing generation facility powered by a fresh water renewable resource that commenced operation before March 31, 1999. In other words, fresh water energy resources that have been operating since before March 31, 1999 -- and are unchanged and unimproved since that time -- would count toward the RPS.

For more information on this bill including  its full text, see the Washington State Legislature website.

Washington HB 1890 is sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert (R-8th Dist.), Rep. Jan Angel (R-26th Dist.), Rep. Dan Kristiansen (R-39th Dist.), Rep. Shelley Short (R-7th Dist.), Rep. Larry Haler (R-8th Dist.), Rep. Barbara Bailey (R-10th Dist.), and Rep. Jim McCune (R-2nd Dist.). It was introduced and referred to the Environment Committee on February 8, 2011.

Another bill that would essentially wipe out the Washington State RPS altogether was introduced earlier this session. The blog post on that bill, SB 5563, is available here.