The Legislature must consider the ramifications of its actions on the energy costs for Washington’s families and businesses, and maximize the opportunities to utilize Washington’s abundant, renewable natural resources.
Washington’s economy has been built on abundant, reliable and affordable electric energy. Clean, reliable, renewable and low-cost hydropower accounts for over 80 percent of the wholesale power sold by the average electric cooperative in Washington. As a BPA customer, these utilities receive their wholesale power supply mostly from resources that have no greenhouse gas emissions.
Washington once enjoyed a competitive energy advantage that allowed its businesses, industries and farms to provide family-waged jobs, meet strict environmental regulations, offset high transportation costs and remain competitive in the regional, national and global marketplace.
Our competitive energy advantage began to seriously erode, however, during the 2000/2001 energy crisis. A severe drought and market manipulation significantly contributed to wholesale electricity and natural gas market conditions that exposed electric cooperatives and their customers to unprecedented costs that they are still bearing today.
In 2006, voters narrowly passed Initiative 937 (by 51.6 %) establishing a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) which mandated that qualifying utilities obtain 15 percent of their energy supply from prescriptively defined “renewable energy” by 2020. However, this mandate does not recognize the existing hydropower generation in Washington as a renewable resource.
Renewable and alternative energy resources that do not emit greenhouse gas emissions, including hydropower, all play a very important role in diversifying our state’s electric energy portfolio, provided such resources are obtained and integrated at a reasonable cost. Unfortunately, the state’s energy policies have not only failed to address rising energy costs, but contribute to the problem. These increased costs are being passed on to Washington’s families and businesses.
The Legislature must take into consideration the ramifications of its actions on the energy costs for Washington’s families and businesses, and maximize the opportunities to utilize Washington’s abundant, renewable natural resources.
- Supports legislation that provides opportunities for the development of cost-effective base load generation such as hydropower and nuclear power in Washington State.
- Supports legislation that calls for the use of least-cost resources, including conservation and energy efficiency, to meet the state’s energy needs.
- Opposes legislation mandating distributed generation, virtual net metering, on-bill financing, and feed-in tariffs.
- Seeks legislative and regulatory provisions that when appropriate provide smaller utilities with exemptions or simpler compliance alternatives