Delivering clean, renewable electricity to residents in Washington is a clear priority of voters, the State Legislature, and an essential component of the state’s climate mitigation policy. Because of the public’s demand for renewable energy resources and the various laws requiring that only clean energy be used in Washington State (the Clean Energy Transformation Act, 2019), more renewable energy projects are being developed.
In many areas where wind and solar projects are developing, residents are frustrated at perceived impacts on their environment and quality of life with little direct benefit to the community. For them, industrial renewable energy development is controversial.
At the same time, advocates for clean energy and clean energy developers would like to see projects permitted and built faster and more efficiently. HB 1216/SB 5380 addresses both issues.
By creating a coordinated permitting process across all state and local permitting and review agencies, HB 1216/SB 5380 streamlines project approvals to speed up construction. For project applicants to qualify for the coordinated process, they must provide meaningful community engagement and benefits to obtain local support. Unlike projects that seek site review through the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, applicants using the coordinated permitting process must adhere to local zoning and development codes.
HB 1216 was heard in the House Environment & Energy Committee on January 19th (See video below). Its companion, SB 5380, will be heard next week in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee on January 24th. While WSAC generally supports this bill, we have some concerns we’ll be working with the Governor’s staff and legislators to address.
Other energy-related bills introduced so far this session that you may want to check out:
- HB 1123 Supporting local and tribal control of clean energy siting
- HB 1192/SB 5165 Electric power transmission planning
WSAC, Policy Director