Clean Energy Transformation Act.
Under the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), enacted in 2019, Washington's electric utilities must comply with the following standards:
Non-Emitting Electric Generation, Renewable Resources, and Energy Transformation Projects.
From 2030 through 2044, an electric utility must demonstrate its compliance with the GHG neutral standard by using a combination of non-emitting electric generation, electricity from renewable resources, or alternative compliance options. Alternative compliance options may be used only through 2044, to satisfy up to 20 percent of the GHG neutral standard, and include alternative compliance payments, renewable energy credits under certain conditions, electricity from certain energy recovery facilities using municipal solid waste, and energy transformation projects.
An energy transformation project may include: home weatherization or other energy efficiency measures; support for electrification of the transportation sector such as electric vehicle connection equipment on an electric utility's transmission and distribution system; investment in distributed energy resources and grid modernization; investments in equipment for renewable natural gas processing and production; investments in conservation to serve the sites of large industrial gas and electrical customers; and projects and programs that achieve energy efficiency and emission reductions in the agricultural sector.
Clean Energy Action and Implementation Plans.
A clean energy action plan must be adopted by each electric utility for implementing the coal elimination standard, GHG neutral standard, and 100 percent clean electricity standard at the lowest reasonable cost, and at an acceptable resource adequacy standard, that identifies the specific actions to be taken by the utility.
A clean energy implementation plan (CEIP) must be adopted and submitted by each investor-owned utility (IOU) to the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) every four years, beginning January 1, 2022. Among other requirements, the CEIP must be informed by the clean energy action plan, propose interim targets for meeting the GHG neutral standards, and identify specific actions that the IOU will take to demonstrate progress towards the GHG neutral standard and the 100 percent clean electricity standard. The UTC, after a hearing, must approve, reject, or approve with conditions an IOU's CEIP and interim targets.
Declaratory Orders Under the Administrative Procedure Act.
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) establishes the general procedures for agency rulemaking and adjudicatory proceedings. Under the APA, any person may petition an agency for a declaratory order on how a rule, order, or enforceable statute applies in specific circumstances.
The petitioner for a declaratory order must provide facts and reasons that:
Among other requirements, within 30 days of receiving a petition for a declaratory order, an agency must do one of the following:
An investor-owned utility (IOU) may petition the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) for a declaratory order to determine whether a proposed energy transformation project, non-emitting electric generation project, or renewable resource project (proposed project) meets the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA) standards for having electricity sales be: (1) greenhouse gas neutral by 2030 (GHG neutral standard); and (2) from only non-emitting or renewable resources by 2045 (100 percent clean electricity standard).
If the UTC determines that a proposed project in the declaratory order complies with these CETA standards, an IOU may identify the project in its clean energy action plan and clean energy implementation plan (CEIP). If after the UTC determines that a proposed project complies with CETA standards in a declaratory order, an IOU seeks approval for the proposed project in a CEIP or proceeding to set rates and the proposed project substantially deviates from the one described in the declaratory order to potentially affect its compliance with CETA standards, the UTC may reevaluate the proposed project's compliance with CETA standards.
The petition for a declaratory order must be in writing and must include an accurate description of the proposed project. The UTC may charge a fee to cover the cost of reviewing the proposed project and prepare a declaratory order. A declaratory order does not determine the prudency of the proposed project.
The UTC is still authorized to determine, independent of the declaratory order, whether a proposed project meets the planning and portfolio requirements of an IOU's CEIP. An IOU is not required to seek a declaratory order to determine whether or not a proposed project is compliant with CETA standards.