We are about halfway through the 2021 Washington legislative session and a lot has been happening despite the remote nature of the session this year. We were disappointed that HB 1084 did not make it out of the House. The bill would have required benchmarking of all commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet with the anticipation that these buildings would also soon be subject to performance standards. We hope to see this resurrected in the 2022 session. In terms of what is still in motion, here are the items NEEC is closely tracking:
- SB 5126 the Climate Commitment Act: This is Governor request legislation sponsored by Senator Carlyle and we are excited about this smart approach to developing a cap-and-trade program in Washington that is designed to accelerate carbon emission reductions in the state while generating economic development through workforce development, energy efficiency, building decarbonization, and smart buildings, among other things. The bill is up for a hearing in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Monday. If you’d like to show your support, you can sign in “pro” using the tool located here: Bill Sign-in. While the committee doesn’t meet until Monday, you can already sign-in to demonstrate your support.
- SB 5373 WA Strong: This bill imposes a carbon tax on GHG emissions in Washington State. It received broad support in its recent hearing and would generate funds to support transportation electrification as well as energy efficiency, building decarbonization and grid modernization efforts. NEEC signed in pro for this bill, although our understanding is that it is unlikely to progress further this session.
- NEEC has also been advocating for a robust level of funding for the Energy Efficiency & Solar Grants program. We are expecting the legislative budget to be released in the next week or so.
- Other bills we are monitoring include:
A robust session is underway in Oregon as well, again despite the remote nature of things. NEEC is closely tracking the following:
- SB 784: Resiliency Measure Cost Recovery – This bill allows public utilities to recoup the operational and capital costs associated with resiliency measures via rates. This can include a variety of things including rate recovery for resiliency measures that provide “distribution system efficiencies and grid services, such as flexible load programs, demand management programs or dispatchable standby capacity, that operate both to serve customers during normal service and can be used to assist utility operations or provide utility service during emergencies.” The bill also allows for different related business models such as utility owned, customer owned, jointly owned or leased equipment. This opens opportunities for businesses who are interested in grid-enabled buildings, managed demand services and other behind the meter strategies that provide grid flexibility to collaborate with public utilities to implement projects.
- HB 3141: Changes to the Public Purpose Charge – This bill makes several adjustments to the Oregon Public Purpose Charge (PPC) including removing energy efficiency from the PPC moving it into utility rates. It also expands some of the uses of the funds collected via the PPC including “Customer investments in distribution system-connected technologies that support reliability, resilience and the integration of new renewable energy resources with the distribution system of the electric company or Oregon Community Power.”
- HB 2021: 100% Clean Electricity – we are still awaiting bill language for this, but we believe this will be the main vehicle for a 100% Clean Electricity proposal in Oregon. This is scheduled for discussion next week in the House Energy & Environment Committee and we anticipate language will be released prior, but have heard that the proposal will bear similarities to the Clean Energy Transformation Act passed by the WA Legislature in 2019.