As leaves begin to fall in the Northwest, it is sure sign that policy conversations are beginning to heat up for 2010 legislative sessions. Oregon will have a “limited” session in 2010, Washington will be in their shorter 60 day session, and the Idaho legislature will also convene. State budget woes will undoubtedly capture much of the attention in all three states. A legislator panel at the recent Idaho Energy Efficiency and Green Building Conference advised meeting participants that new energy policy ideas and initiatives will likely get very little air time as the state grapples with revenue shortfalls. Conventional wisdom would indicate that Oregon’s session will have a small agenda, but some insiders are predicting something more – and some of that might involve discussions about the long term fate of the popular BETC program which is clearly in jeopardy. The Washington Legislature may have a more ambitious energy agenda. It seems certain that the legislature will once again take up the issue of possible amendments to the I-937 statute. In addition, a coalition of interests have held talks over the summer about bill ideas to spur financing for energy efficiency investments. Chief among these is an idea promoted by Rep. Hans Dunshee for a state bond issue to finance energy efficiency investments in K-12 schools and other public facilities.
NEEC will once again remain active in promoting the interests of the energy efficiency industry in these legislatures. Bill updates will be tracked and quick links posted on the home page of the NEEC web site. The NEEC Board will be setting strategic policy direction, but members are encouraged to provide thoughts and counsel to the Board on their policy perspective. Recently, a committed group of Oregon members has volunteered to provide “kitchen cabinet” advice on issues of concern in that state. Any member company is welcome to contact the NEEC office about how to get involved.