2024 Washington Legislative Session Wrap Up 

This year’s “short” legislative session ended on March 7th. Despite the abbreviated timeline, a flurry of bills created a busy year for advocates and legislators in Olympia.  

This year, the Coalition focused its advocacy on decarbonizing the energy sector, implementing the new Transportation Electrification Strategy, and solar consumer protections. Here’s a snapshot of some wins in 2024 for Washington’s clean energy future. 

Gas utility decarbonization 

HB 1589 Sponsored by Rep. Doglio 

HB 1589 supports Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) implementation of state climate policies through robust planning, decarbonization programs, and regulatory tools to support clean energy development. The bill directs the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to consider PSE’s proposed electric and gas plans as an integrated whole, to support reliable, affordable and decarbonized energy at the lowest reasonable cost to customers. It also strengthens requirements for PSE’s energy efficiency, demand response, and targeted electrification programs. The bill supports a managed transition of PSE’s gas system through authorizing accelerated depreciation, allowing for a future merger of PSE’s gas and electric rate bases (subject to Commission review), and providing a process for PSE to obtain regulatory approval of new clean energy projects.   

Funding 100% clean school buses 

HB 1368Sponsored by Rep. Senn 

HB 1368 creates a Zero-Emission School Bus Grant Program administered by the Department of Ecology to help schools transition to all-electric school buses. Funded by the Climate Commitment Act, this helps schools across Washington invest in clean, all-electric buses. Importantly, funding is prioritized for communities most impacted by air pollution and for the oldest, most polluting diesel buses.


Strengthening solar consumer protections 

HB 2156 – Sponsored by Rep. Reeves 

As interest in distributed solar has grown over the years, so too has the need for industry standards to ensure good experiences for customers. Unanimously passed in both chambers, HB 2156 strengthens consumer protections for the solar industry. It requires a professional license to install, repair, or design solar systems valued over $1,000, and mandates more transparent notices and disclosures in solar contracts. 

Linking Washington’s and California-Québec’s carbon markets 

SB 6058Sponsored by Sen. Nguyen 

This bill makes technical changes that set the stage in the coming years for the Department of Ecology to pursue linking Washington’s nascent carbon market to the established California-Québec carbon market. Linkage could potentially bring more predictability and stability to Washington’s new carbon market and lower the cost of carbon allowances. Before any decision on linkage, the bill requires a public comment period as well as analysis to ensure Washington’s carbon market would continue to benefit overburdened communities and maintain progress towards the state’s climate goals. 

Addressing the environmental impacts of lighting products  

HB 1185Sponsored by Rep. Hackney 

Mercury is a known toxin that has persisted in lighting products for decades. However, LED alternatives are affordable, attainable, and are already twice as efficient as mercury-containing fluorescent lightbulbs. This bill, mirroring similar Oregon legislation from last year, phases out mercury from most lighting products by 2029 and extends the stewardship program through 2035, a producer-organized program to safely dispose of mercury-containing lighting products.  

Promoting thermal energy networks 

HB 2131 – Sponsored by Rep. Ramel 

Thermal energy networks (TENs) have exciting potential to increase building efficiency by harnessing the stable temperature of water pipes, bodies of water, and the earth, to both heat and cool buildings as needed. HB 2131 allows the Department of Commerce to distribute grants to fossil gas utilities for pilot projects to study the potential of TENs. Thermal energy can also fulfill fossil gas utilities’ “obligation to serve” customers, subject to approval by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. 


Updating utility load calculations for Energy Independence Act targets  

HB 1948 – Sponsored by Rep. Ybarra 

Proposed by Seattle City Light, this bill aligns requirements in the 2006 Energy Independence Act and the 2019 Clean Energy Transformation Act and clarifies what counts as a utility’s load for its renewable energy targets. This bill removes an unintended barrier to new renewable energy supply resources that would be developed as a result of voluntary programs.  

Capital Budget: 

SB 5949 and HB 2089 

CCA Account 

  • $138M for community EV charging infrastructure, with a priority for multifamily buildings, public charging infrastructure, and school districts. 
  • $6M in grant funding for low-income solar and storage, and community solar projects 
  • $51M for high-wage green job creation and infrastructure, including $26M for state matching of competitive federal funding, with a goal of at least 20% of grant funding for overburdened communities. 
  • $55M for affordable multifamily building efficiency grants to help transition off fossil fuel use. 
  • $45M for school district indoor air quality monitoring and energy efficiency upgrades in schools, with priority for schools who lack or have underperforming HVAC systems. 

Operating Budget: 

SB 5950 and HB 2104 

  • $35M in grant funding through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), including energy assessments to evaluate and fund energy efficiency upgrades for qualifying households. 
  • $600k to identify and study recreational and conservation opportunities on the lower Snake River in advance of any future federal decision to authorize breaching of the four federal lower Snake River dams. 
  • $3.5M for a one-stop shop navigator to facilitate access to energy incentive programs, energy audits, and rebates to retrofit homes and small businesses.  
  • $300k for developing recommendations for a statewide energy assistance program to address energy burden for low-income households 
  • $1.8M to facilitate implementation of SB 6058 linking Washington’s carbon market with California and Québec’s 
  • $500k for the Washington State Academy of Sciences to determine the value of distributed solar and storage and provide recommendations to utility regulators for after the state’s 4% net energy metering threshold is met 

There were some important bills that failed to pass this year. Below are a few bills that we plan to continue supporting in future legislative sessions. 

Implementing the Transportation Electrification Strategy 

SB 6304Sponsored by Sen. Liias 

The State EV Council delivered the Transportation Electrification Strategy (TES) to the legislature this year, a comprehensive plan to decarbonize the transportation sector. This bill would have begun implementing some policy recommendations in the TES, including removing limits on utility investments in TE programs, calculating formula funding to help schools transition to zero emission school buses, and requiring training for EV charging infrastructure at state agencies.  Learn more about the TES and the Coalition’s involvement in our recent blog post

Integrating environmental justice decisions into project decisions  

HB 2070Sponsored by Rep. Mena 

The Healthy Environmental for All (HEAL) Act was passed in 2021 to eliminate environmental and health disparities among BIPOC communities and low-income households. This bill would have clarified HEAL Act implementation and required environmental justice impact statements for major new projects. An environmental justice lens is critical to mitigate any project elements that worsen environmental and health disparities in overburdened communities.  

Increasing access to community solar 

HB 2253Sponsored by Rep. Hackney 

Community solar can help more people enjoy the benefits of distributed solar, especially renters and low-income households. This bill would have created a new community solar program, expanded the allowable size of community solar projects from 1 megawatt to 5 megawatts, and required utilities to participate and provide credits on customer’s utility bills. A strong coalition of solar advocates worked on this bill and we will continue to educate policymakers on the importance of community solar as a way to deliver benefits to a broader range of communities.