OLYMPIA – In what many would see as a fitting nod to Earth Day, the Legislature gave final passage to a measure committing the state to being off carbon-based energy by 2045.
The 100% clean energy bill that would require electric utilities to meet certain energy standards over the next 25 years passed the Senate on a 29-20 partisan vote Monday.
Climate change is “the moral issue of our time,” said primary sponsor Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle. The bill is a thoughtful and measured step forward that allows the state to use existing hydro, wind and solar infrastructure, he added.
The bill, a complicated and expansive overhaul of the state’s energy production system, requires utilities to get rid of coal power by 2025.
Utilities would be required to be carbon neutral by 2030, with at least 80% of their power coming from “non-emitting generation resources” owned by the company. However, through 2044, the other 20% could be fulfilled by trading renewable energy credits with companies that did generate “clean” energy or investing in energy transformation projects.
All utilities would be required to produce their power from 100% clean energy sources by 2045.
Companies which fail to comply would be charged for each megawatt-hour of noncompliance, but those charges couldn’t be more than 2% of the company’s previous year’s electricity revenue.
Avista announced last week it would commit to being carbon neutral by 2027.
The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee, who was in Nevada as part of his campaign for president. Inslee is running on a climate-focused platform and supports the bill.
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