Fighting Climate Change & Its Effects
Energy

Advocate for clean and renewable sources.


Issue Chair: Martin Gibbins, mgibbins@lwvwa.org (425) 361-5007
 DOWNLOAD the Energy Issue Paper
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 

Right Now in Energy

(Interested in the 2020 Session Recap? Click Here)

Introduction

As the Legislature deals with restoring normal function to the economy and government operations, attention will focus there. Nevertheless, opportunities exist to drive recovery with investment on clean energy to achieve the carbon neutrality objectives set by legislation in recent sessions. A proposed Washington Strong green bond program could encourage recovery investment focusing on expanding clean energy sources and increasing energy efficiency. Because climate-focused legislation may include energy implications, also see the Climate Issue page.

Just released was the Washington 2021 State Energy Strategy by the Department of Commerce, an update to previous state energy strategies as required by legislative action. The strategy focuses on achieving decarbonization of our energy sources including transportation, electricity, buildings, and industry to achieve the objectives of the Clean Energy Transformation Act. Legislation this session and future sessions will begin implementing the strategy.


Bills We Support


HB 1046Requires a program for the procurement of electricity from community solar projects by investor-owned utilities.. This bill enables community solar projects can sell power to private utility companies and credit solar program participants. A similar bill (ESHB 2248) passed both chambers in 2020, but the governor declined to sign anticipating the challenges of the pandemic.

 STATUS UPDATE: A hearing was held on 1/12 in the House Committee on Environment & Energy.

SB 5000Creating a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle pilot sales and use tax exemption program. This bill is written to encourage purchase of such vehicles. Washington has the potential to use some our green electricity to generate green hydrogen fuel, a fuel attractive in vehicles requiring longer range and other features and a medium of energy storage when our generation capacity exceeds our demand. We must ensure that we encourage viability for all alternative fuel vehicles commensurate with their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near and long term.

 STATUS UPDATE: The bill is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology on 1/21 at 10:30 AM.

The Climate Change page lists other bills related to energy.


Issues from Previous Legislative Session
  • A senate Joint Memorial (SJM 8018) requesting Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy to establish and develop a permanent federal nuclear waste repository was not voted on. A permanent solution is still required for safe storage of high level nuclear wastes, currently stored at Hanford and threatening the Columbia River. 
  • A bill to regulate offshore oil extraction and protect our valuable coastlines (ESSB 6432) required guidelines for the Shoreline Management Act master programs for shorelines of statewide significance. It would have prohibited: 1) infrastructure for handling or transporting extracted gas and oil, 2) leasing tidal or submerged lands for oil or gas exploration, development or production. This remains an important protection for our environment, and the policies of the new federal administration may reduce the urgency.

How You Can Be Involved
  • During the legislative session we will send Action Alerts in the Legislative Newsletter. Please respond to these, which will direct you to an application to facilitate communicating with your legislators on important votes in committees or on the chamber floor. 
  • Local Leagues in Washington have Action Chairs who coordinate action teams. Some Local Leagues have environment or climate teams to take action locally. Contact your local league Action Chair to find out and join. 
  • You may also express your opinion on legislation with the LWVWA Issue Chairs. We will take your perspectives under considerations as we determine our support for legislation and prepare testimony. Martin Gibbins, Climate and Energy Issue Chair, mgibbins@lwvwa.org

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