State Adopts New ‘Clean Energy’ Policies–Rate Hikes Coming?
Passed by the legislature last year due to largely Democratic majorities, the Clean Energies Transformation Act (CETA) starts to go into effect in WA state in 2021.
CETA contains a myriad of what the Department of Commerce calls "groundbreaking" changes. They include:
- "Electric utilities in Washington must eliminate coal-fired electricity by the end of 2025, transition to a carbon-neutral supply of electricity by 2030, and source 100% of their electricity from renewable or non-carbon-emitting sources by 2045."
- "Utilities must ensure an equitable distribution of benefits from the transition to clean energy for all customers and must make programs and funding available for energy assistance to low-income customers." (italics added for emphasis).
- "Tax incentives for renewable energy development that encourage developers to pay prevailing wages and use a community workforce agreement or project labor agreement." (in other words pay more wages and utilize equity-quota hiring or pay higher taxes).
- "Electric utilities must adopt CETA implementation plans by the end of 2021 with targets for achieving CETA’s clean electricity requirements and prepare revised plans every four years." (this affects the 64 utilities in our state, including Benton PUD, Benton REA, Franklin PUD and others)
- "By the end of 2025, utilities must remove all coal-fired electric generation from their resource portfolios." (a moot point as the last coal fired plant in WA has been decommissioned).
- "By 2030, utilities must use a portfolio of electric resources that is greenhouse gas neutral. Under this standard, at least 80% of electricity must be from renewable sources or non-emitting power, and any use of natural gas to generate electricity must be offset by emissions reductions elsewhere." (bold lettering added for emphasis. This is likely the provision that will cause the most rate hikes for consumers).
- "By 2045, utilities must use a resource portfolio that is 100% renewable or nuclear to serve Washington customers, with no provision for offsets." (this too will result in rate hikes for future generations, provided the legislation is still in place).
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