Senate Republicans in Washington are looking to amend the 2006 Energy Independence Act, a voter initiative that requires large power utilities to get a growing share of their power from renewable resources such as wind and solar.
The initiative excluded power from hydroelectric dams, which provide a majority of the state’s electricity but are known to kill or impede migrating salmon. A bill sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, would allow utilities to fulfill their clean energy requirements by buying federally owned hydropower that comes from upgrades to existing dams. The bill has passed the Senate and could come to a full House vote in the coming weeks.
Another bill, from Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, would give utilities credit for promoting conservation, installing electric car charging stations and converting the state’s ferry fleet to run on natural gas. The bill was scheduled for a House committee vote on Wednesday but held for further discussion.
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