WA Climate Legislation Implementation

Following the passage of important climate legislation in the 2019 session of the Washington legislature, many rulemakings are now underway to implement the intent of that legislation. Rulemaking for most of these bills concluded in 2020, while others will extend into 2021 or further. The NW Energy Coalition was involved in many of these proceedings; feel free to reach out with any questions!

Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA, or implementing SB 5116) 

As our  digest  highlights, there are many components to  CETA. Consequently, there will be multiple rulemakings, across multiple state agencies. If you have any questions, contact Joni Bosh at joni@nwenergy.org. 

The Department of Commerce is leading on developing rules for consumer owned utilities, and will co-lead on specific items with other state agencies.  Any information on upcoming meetings and workshops is available on the website, as well as many documents and stakeholder comments to date. There is also a sign-up on the right-hand side of the linked page if you want to be kept directly informed of upcoming meetings and comment. 

The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) is leading development of rules for investor owned utilities and will co-lead some rulemakings and processes that apply to all utilities with the Department of Commerce. At this time, here are the particularly relevant UTC dockets associated with CETA requirements; all are closed except for the Markets Workgroup:

  • U-190485 provides an overall approach and timeline for how the UTC will approach the rulemaking needs of CETA. 
  • UE-190652 is a rulemaking related to aligning the requirements of the Energy Independence Act with the requirements of CETA.
  • UE-190698 is a rulemaking related to amending the integrated resource planning (IRP) process to align with CETA requirements. This docket has been consolidated into UE-191023, to jointly discuss the IRP rulemaking with the Clean Energy Implementation Plan (CEIP) rulemaking. 
  • UE-190760 is a coordinated discussion docket with Commerce on a Carbon and Electricity Markets Workgroup. 
  • UE-190837 is a rulemaking related to amending Purchases of Electricity rules in light of CETA and other changes in the electricity market place. 

If you are interested in being on the service list for a particular docket, email  records@utc.wa.gov to request to be added to the service list and reference the docket number. There is also a weekly bulletin that the UTC sends out on CETA rulemaking. Sign up here. 

The Department of Health  has developed a cumulative impact analysis (CIA) of the impacts of both climate change and fossil fuels on population health, in order to designate highly impacted communities. Some of the data from this CIA will then be used to inform electric utilities’ plans toward meeting the requirements of CETA. Interested parties can sign up on the mailing list  here. More information on the CIA can be found on the website.

The Department of Ecology led the rulemaking associated with identifying what activities or measures as clean energy transformation projects, which can be used for compliance with some CETA requirements between 2030 and 2045. Ecology also coordinated with Commerce on identifying the greenhouse gas emission factors associated with electricity. 

The Department of Labor and Industries (LNI) conducted emergency rulemakings associated with the labor standard preferences for renewable project tax exemptions. A standard rulemaking will be started to implement permanent rules. Contact Beverly Clark at Beverly.Clark@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-6272 to be included on a notification list. 

Clean Buildings Act (implementing HB 1257) 

The Clean Buildings Act, as our digest elaborates on, contains four main policies: a building performance standard, gas utility conservation standards, gas utility renewable natural gas requirements, and electric vehicle readiness in new buildings. Contact Amy Wheeless at amy@nwenergy.org for any questions. 

  • The law directs the Department of Commerce to develop building performance standards for large (> 50,000 square feet) existing commercial buildings by November 2020. Commerce has developed this standard and has notified building owners as of July 1, 2021 of possible need to comply. More information and resources are on Commerce’s website, and interested parties can sign up on the right-hand side of the linked website for email updates. 
  • The UTC will lead rulemaking associated with the gas conservation standards, but will not start this process until sometime in 2021; in the meantime, gas utilities are developing conservation potential assessments.
  • The UTC will also coordinate any process or needed rulemaking around the use of renewable natural gas. Docket U-190818 is where the outcomes of these discussions is documented.
  • The  State Building Code Council implemented the rulemaking associated with electric vehicle readiness requirements in new buildings. 

Appliance Efficiency Standards (implementing HB 1444) 

The Department of Commerce is managing the rulemaking that will set 17 state efficiency standards in law and provide a requirement for electric storage water heaters to be enabled with a grid-ready technology. Final rules for many of these products were issued in late 2019 and 2020. You can sign-up on the right-hand side of the page for any updates. Contact amy@nwenergy.org for any questions. 

For any other questions about energy or climate bills that passed in 2019 and the implementation schedule of them, reach out to Amy Wheeless (amy@nwenergy.org) and she will try and find you the answer. 

We couldn’t participate in all of these proceedings without support; if you are able to support our work, please do so today and consider becoming a member if you aren’t already.