Washington state renewable plan avoids watering down
Washington state’s Initiative 937, the renewable energy bill voters approved in 2006, looks to be safe from meddling state legislators. From Josh Feit at Publicola:
The state Senate bill I’ve been following all session—the one that supporters like Sen. Chris Marr (D-6, Spokane) says will “amend” I-937 (the voter-approved renewable energy initiative) and Greens say will “gut” I-937— got tabled in the House appropriations committee on Friday.
Lawmakers have been considering loosening restrictions in the measure, which was meant to ramp up wind and solar energy production in the state. Feit suggests the original plan is safe for now.
Some background on the bill from Publicola:
I-937, passed by the voters in 2006 …, mandates that electric utilities get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. Hydro was not included on I-937’s list of kosher sources because the intent of the initiative was to develop new sources of green power. Hydro provides 70 percent of the region’s power already. (Additionally, dams are taboo in the environmental community.)
A March 24 AP story recounts some of the legislative tussle. It also dips into the debate over old renewables (hydropower) versus new renewables, an interesting question in the dam-dependent Northwest.