SENATE BILL REPORT
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
As of January 26, 2019
Title: An act relating to supporting Washington's clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future.
Brief Description: Supporting Washington's clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future.
Sponsors: Senators Carlyle, Palumbo, McCoy, Pedersen, Wellman, Das, Rolfes, Frockt, Wilson, C., Kuderer, Nguyen, Keiser, Liias, Hunt, Saldaña, Darneille and Billig; by request of Governor Inslee.
Committee Activity: Environment, Energy & Technology: 1/17/19.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY
Staff: Kimberly Cushing (786-7421)
Background: Initiative 937. Initiative 937, also called the Energy Independence Act, requires electric utilities with 25,000 or more customers to meet targets for energy conservation and for using eligible renewable resources.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard for Electric Generation Plants. Electric utilities may not enter into a long-term financial commitment for baseload electric generation on or after July 1, 2008, unless the generating plant's emissions are the lower of:
1100 pounds of greenhouse gas (GHG) per megawatt-hour (MWh); or
the average available GHG output as updated by the Department of Commerce (Commerce), which is currently set at 970 pounds per MWh.
Baseload electric generation means electric generation from a power plant that is designed and intended to provide electricity at an annualized plant capacity factor of at least 60 percent. Long-term financial commitment means:
either a new ownership interest in baseload electric generation or an upgrade to a baseload electric generation facility; or
a new or renewed contract for baseload electric generation with a term of five or more years for the provision of retail power or wholesale power to end-use customers in this state.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard and Coal Transition Power. In 2011, the Legislature established a schedule for applying the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) to the Centralia coal-fired electric generation facility. In addition, the EPS was amended to allow long-term contracts for Centralia's generated electricity, called coal transition power. A process was created to allow electric investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to petition the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) for approval of a power purchase agreement for coal transition power.
Integrated Resource Plans. All investor-owned and consumer-owned electric utilities in the state with more than 25,000 customers must develop integrated resource plans (IRPs). All other electric utilities in the state, including those that essentially receive all their power from the Bonneville Power Administration, must file either an IRP or a less-detailed resource plan (RP).
IRPs and RPs must be updated every two years. IOUs must submit their plans to the UTC. Consumer-owned utilities must file a copy of their plans with Commerce every two years.
Summary of Bill: Coal Phase-Out Standard by 2026. By December 31, 2025, all electric utilities must eliminate from electric rates all costs associated with delivering electricity to Washington customers that is generated from coal-fired power plants. The cost of delivering power does not include the costs associated with decommissioning and remediation of the facilities.
For IOUs, the UTC is required to accelerate depreciation for any coal-fired resource owned by an IOU to no later than December 31, 2025. The UTC is prohibited from extending the depreciation schedule for any fossil-fuel generating resource.
Carbon Neutral Standard by 2030. By January 1, 2030, each electric utility must make all retail sales of electricity to Washington customers GHG neutral. To achieve compliance with this target, an electric utility must:
use all cost-effective, reliable, and feasible conservation and efficiency resources and demand response resources to reduce or manage electric retail load; and
use non-emitting and renewable resources in an amount equal to 100 percent of the utility's average annual retail electric load, minus any non-emitting electric generation in operation on the effective date of this act.
All renewable resources used to meet the compliance obligation must be verified using renewable energy credits (RECs), and must be tracked and retired in the tracking system selected by Commerce. Nonemitting generation resources used to meet the obligation must be generated during the compliance year and must be verified by documentation that the utility owns the nonpower attributes of the electricity.
An electric utility may satisfy up to 20 percent of the standard with an alternative compliance option through December 31, 2039, and 10 percent from January 1, 2040, through December 31, 2044. An alternative compliance option includes any combination of the following:
making an alternative compliance payment (ACP);
purchasing unbundled RECs; or
investing in energy transformation projects.
Energy transformation projects must meet criteria and quality standards developed by the Department of Ecology (DOE), in consultation with Commerce. Quality standards include demonstrable measurable impacts that result in real net reduction in fossil fuel use or GHG reductions; permanent nonreversible impacts; impacts that are additive to what is required by law; verifiable impacts; or any other standard in an approved protocol.
Energy transformation projects must be associated with the consumption of energy in Washington. Any compliance obligation fulfilled through investment in such a project is only eligible for use by the electric utility that makes the investment.
Annually, UTC for each IOU, and the governing bodies of each consumer-owned utility (COU) must adopt interim targets, consistent with clean energy action plans. At a minimum, interim targets must include energy efficiency, demand response, and renewable energy.
One Hundred Percent Clean Standard by 2045. By January 1, 2045, each electric utility must meet 100 percent of its retail electric load to Washington customers using non-emitting and renewable resources. An electric utilities must demonstrate compliance beginning January 1, 2046, and achieve the target while maintaining the safety, reliable operation, and balancing of the electric system; planning to meeting the standard at the lowest reasonable cost; and ensuring all customers are benefiting from the transition to clean energy.
UTC, Commerce, the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, DOE, and all other state agencies must incorporate this standard into all relevant planning and use all statutory programs to achieve it.
For both the carbon neutral and the 100 percent clean energy standards, an electric utility must demonstrate annually it has used all conservation and efficiency and demand response resources prior to making new investments to meet projected demand, and to the maximum extent feasible, must achieve targets at the lowest reasonable cost; and in the acquisition of new resources, maximize the creation of family wage jobs and rely on renewable resources and energy storage.
By January 1, 2021, and every two years thereafter, the UTC and Commerce must report to the Legislature a review of the carbon neutral standard and 100 percent clean standard focused on technologies, forecasts, existing transmission, environmental and public safety, affordability, and reliability. Additionally, the report must include an evaluation of impacts or costs and benefits on system reliability and utilities, and assess the policy impacts on low-income customers and vulnerable communities.
Administrative Penalty. An electric utility that fails to comply with the coal-elimination, carbon neutral, or 100 percent clean energy standards must pay an administrative penalty equal to $100 for each MWh of emitting or unspecified electric generation used to meet an electric utility's retail electric load. The penalty is adjusted for inflation, beginning in 2027. Beginning in 2040, the UTC may increase the penalty for IOUs to accelerate compliance.
An electric utility may elect to pay an ACP equal to the administrative penalty as an alternative compliance option.
UTC for an IOU or the attorney general for a COU, may relieve the utility of its penalty obligation if it finds that the utility had no choice but to use electric generation from an emitting resource to maintain the reliability and safety of the grid.
Electric utilities must incorporate the administrative penalty as a cost adder when evaluating and selecting conservation policies, developing integrated resource plans, and selecting resource options.
Monies collected must be deposited into existing low-income weatherization and structural rehabilitation assistance accounts. The standard is enforced by the UTC for investor-owned utilities and the state auditor's office for consumer-owned utilities.
Progress Reports. By December 31, 2026, each electric utility must annually report to Commerce its progress in the preceding year in meeting the coal elimination standard, the carbon neutral standard, and the 100 percent clean energy standard, and make the reports publicly available. The IOUs must also report to the UTC.
The report must include:
expected and actual electricity savings and expenditures and from conservation and efficiency resources;
the utility's annual retail electric load for the prior five years;
the amount of MWh of each acquired resource;
the amount and cost associated with RECs retired;
an assessment of the impacts on low-income customers and vulnerable communities; and
actions taken in other sectors to reduce GHG emissions while reducing GHG emissions in the electricity sector.
Rulemaking Authority. By January 1, 2021, UTC for IOUs and Commerce for COUs may adopt rules. Nothing restricts rate-making authority of the governing bodies of COUs unless otherwise provided by law. UTC and Commerce are encouraged to coordinate and consult with other agencies in developing rules.
The requirements of this act do not replace or modify the requirements of the Energy Independence Act.
Integrated Resource Plans and Clean Energy Action Plans. All electric utilities, including small utilities, must develop in concert with their IRP or resource plan the following:
by December 31, 2020, a 10-year clean energy action plan and proposed interim targets for meeting the carbon neutral standard; and
by December 31, 2025, a 20-year clean energy action plan and proposed interim targets for meeting the 100 percent clean standard.
Utilities and Transportation Commission Property Valuation and Authority. UTC's authority to determine the fair value of property for rate making purposes is amended to include the consideration of property acquired or constructed by or during the rate effective period, including the reasonable costs of construction work in progress, to the extent UTC finds that the inclusion is in the public interest and will yield fair, just, reasonable, and sufficient rates. UTC is authorized to approve changes to these rates for up to 48 months, and must establish a process to identify, review, and approve property that becomes used and useful after the rate effective date.
The UTC's authority to consider and implement performance and incentive-based regulation, multiyear rate plans, and other flexible regulatory mechanisms is clarified.
Carbon Adder. Electrical and gas companies must use the carbon adder for planning, evaluating, and acquiring all resources. For calendar year 2019, the carbon adder must be equal to the ACP, and it will increase each January 1st by 1.75 percent.
Energy Strategy Advisory Committee. Commerce must review the state energy strategy in order to align it with the purposes of this act and Ecology's recommended GHG emission reductions by December 31, 2020, and at least once every eight years thereafter, subject to funding. A 24-member state energy advisory committee must be established for each review.
Energy and Climate Policy Advisory Committee. A policy advisory committee is created to develop recommendations to the Legislature to examine costs and benefits of energy-related policies and to conduct other energy-related studies as directed, to be reported by December 31, 2020, subject to funding. Membership includes Washington's four-year institutions of higher education, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Washington State Institute of Public Policy.
Cumulative Impact Analysis. By December 31, 2019, the Department of Health must conduct or adopt a cumulative impact analysis to designate the communities highly impacted by fossil fuel pollution and climate change in Washington.
Extending Sales & Use Tax Exemptions. Extends the expiration date from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2030, for the sales and use tax exemptions for alternative energy machinery and equipment.
A tax preference performance statement states that the tax preference is intended to reduce the price charged to customers for the machinery and equipment used to generate certain types of alternative energy to induce purchases in order to displace electricity from fossil-fueled generating resources, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in Washington.
Appropriation: The bill contains a section or sections to limit implementation to the availability of amounts appropriated for that specific purpose.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: Yes.
Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: We have an entrepreneurial economy that can move toward a clean energy economy. Solar and wind is our future. We will get out of coal in a responsible way. This bill provides a common sense framework for bold actions toward a carbon-free electricity. The regional forecast shows utilities are already planning to build wind and large solar projects. Hydro is a flexible resource, and the bill recognizes power generation for existing dams as renewable resources. Customers are demanding 100 percent clean energy. Cities, counties, and large companies are already committing to 100 percent clean energy, but state level action is essential. California and Hawaii are on this path and it is time for Washington to catch up. Runaway climate change impacts the most vulnerable people in society. We want universal energy assistance—not all utilities provide this and those that do only meet a fraction of the need of energy costs. Energy assistance is necessary no matter how clean the electricity is. This policy could drive down energy costs in new and existing buildings. Climate change is the number one threat to birds. A clean grid is the cornerstone to an effort to de-carbonize, and the transition would save household costs. Business as usual approach will be economically devastating. We must move as rapidly as possible to reduce emissions, and need to ensure provisions to eliminate coal remain in the bill and are strengthened not weakened. The 2030 limit on fossil fuel will address new natural gas, we cannot dig that hole deeper. Clean energy jobs are the fastest growing sector across the country. The policy includes extension to sales tax exemptions which keeps in-state projects competitive with Oregon, Montana, and other states. The policies are achievable and will preserve a reliable grid. Large scale energy storage will be an essential component to the energy grid, which is good for the rural economy. When utilities make resource decisions they take a long-term perspective. Resources built today will be in place for a long time and will ensure our legacy will be strong for those who follow. The climate is more sensitive to GHG than scientists predicted. Renewable energy keeps our air and water clean. We want to expand clean energy on public lands. This is a good path to a cleaner, more flexible system.
CON: Our concerns with the 100 percent mandate in 2045 is that costs are born by customers. We cannot count on intermittent resources for reliability.
OTHER: Transformational change is not without risk and challenges. We must be sensitive to rate impacts. We would like a more forward looking approach to maintain reliability and not penalize or ask for forgiveness after the fact. We need appropriate regulatory tools to protect assets and workers and communities beyond Washington. How reliable can hydro-free generation be? Is 2045 feasible to ensure system reliably? We need to appropriately control costs to customers. The definition of renewable gas requires pipeline standards which conflicts with other state law. We need language to create a just transition component and to help with job loss. The bill may raise the cost of energy in Washington which makes companies less competitive. We need a compromise between cleaner electricity and protecting affordability and reliability of the grid. We support carbon reduction at reasonable costs and propose a cost cap to protect customers. We can meet 80 percent of our load with renewable and nonemitting resources. Bonneville Power Administration customers receive electricity that is 97 percent emissions free. Unknown resources are treated as coming from emitting resources, but they might not be. More transmission is a priority for a reliable grid. We need to address the needs of low-income communities. Maintaining lower energy costs makes it cheaper to use electric cars. Paying too much is counterproductive to finding cheaper carbon reductions elsewhere. The bill limits small modular reactors. Please consider looking at advanced models like cap and trade.
Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Reuven Carlyle, Prime Sponsor; Kirsten Smith, American Institute of Architects Washington; Joe Kendo, Washington State Labor Council; Samantha Grad, UFCW 21; Megan Smith, King County; Nancy Tosta, Councilmember, Burien City; Bruce Bassett, Councilmember, Mercer Island City; Dave Warren, Silfab Solar, Inc; Elyette Weinstein, Washington State League of Women Voters; Bourtai Hargrove, citizen; Matthew Hepner, IBEW; Clifford Traisman, Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters; Adam Maxwell, Audubon Washington; Doug Howell, Sierra Club; Vlad Gutman, Climate Solutions; Dave Van't Hof, National Grid; Nicole Hughes, Renewable Northwest; Tom Starrs, SunPower; Joni Bosh, NW Energy Coalition; Jeff Bissonnette, Union of Concerned Scientists; Thad Curtz, Carbon Washington; Lauren McCloy, Governor's Office; Mendy Droke, Seattle City Light; Patricia Holm, Sunrise Movement; Barak Gale, Green Team, Temple Beth Tfilloh; Shawn Collins, Opportunity Council; Allison Arnold, Solar Installers of Washington; Kristy Royce, Sun Path Electric; Joanna Eide, Legislative Director, DNR; Rebecca Canright, citizen.
CON: Cindy Alia, Citizens Alliance for Property Rights; Tim Boyd, Alliance of Western Energy Consumers.
OTHER: Marian Dacca, Tacoma Public Utilities; Peter Godlewski, Association of Washington Business; Brandon Houskeeper, Puget Sound Energy; John Rothlin, Avista; Kathleen Collins, PacifiCorp; Neil Hartman, Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council; David Mendoza, Front & Centered; Dave Warren, Klickitat PUD; Dave Arbaugh, Public Generating Pool; Jane Van Dyke, Commissioner, Clark Public Utilities; Kent Lopez, Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Nicolas Garcia, WPUDA; Isaac Kastama, Low Carbon Prosperity Institute, Benton PUD, and Franklin PUD.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: PRO: Jessica Zimmerle, Earth Ministry.