Washington State’s citizen inspired statute, I-937, is shaping up to be major energy focus for the 2012 legislative session. The first legislative committee information session kicked off last month, chaired by Rep. Dave Upthegrove whose chairs the environment committee which will have committee responsibility for any bills on the topic. Presentations by staff at the Governor’s Office, the WA PUD Association, Renewable Northwest Project, Northwest Energy Coalition, and the Association of Washington Business underscore the continuing diversity of points of view on I-937. To see a press account of the committee hearing, visit http://www.washingtonstatewire.com/home/10645-governor_wants_to_goose_the_numbers_in_troubled_renewable_energy_law.htm
NEEC intends to be an active participant on this issue in the 2012 Washington State Legislature. Our position on this issue is one that emphasizes the important role that energy efficiency can play in meeting both clean energy and jobs goals in the state as well as the necessity to provide flexibility in the law to help achieve important ends at the lowest possible cost.
•NEEC supports clean energy – especially energy efficiency – as the preferred resource for meeting the state’s long term energy needs.
•Energy efficiency is the least expensive and most environmentally responsible new utility resource and provides energy end use customers with valuable reductions in facility operating expenses.
•Energy efficiency has been and should continue to be first in the “loading order” of new resources for electric utilities.
•I-937 is partially consistent with these points but could be improved in ways that benefit both electric utilities and the customers they serve.
NEEC is open to engaging other stakeholders in discussions on amendments to I-937. NEEC believes there are opportunities to create more flexibility in the statute for meeting clean energy goals that will reduce costs for energy end use customers.
One possible approach in this regard is the following:
Under subsection (1) of RCW 19.285.040, add a new subsection to read as follows:
"(f) A qualifying utility may offset its requirement to acquire eligible renewable resources under subsection (2) of this section with an equal amount of conservation acquired in excess of the biennial acquisition requirement under this subsection (1)."