It’s time to overhaul I-937. House and Senate bills HB 2101, HB 2124, and SB 5964, designed to revise this initiative may solve our wind farm sprawl problem in this county and state once and for all.
In 2006 the state voters passed I-937 euphemistically called “The Energy Independence Act.'” While it beckons to us with its terminology (who doesn’t want energy independence), it is incredibly manipulative in how its language excluded hydropower for Washington state, which provides 75 percent of all state power needs.
Hydropower is the act of water flowing into one side of a generator and passing cleanly out the other side. If that’s not ‘renewable’ and ‘green’ I don’t know what is.
I think we have to conclude that the lobbyists for wind also helped draft the language in I-937 to the detriment of every utility ratepayer in this state. Let’s just call it what it is then: “Windfall for Wind Power Act” instead of “Energy Independence Act.”
The bills’ titles are as follows: SB 5964 and HB 2124: Narrowing the requirement that utilities purchase electricity, renewable energy credits, or electric generating facilities that are not needed to serve their customers’ loads.
HB 2101: Recognizing hydroelectric power as an eligible renewable resource.
Stopping foolish and expensive legislation isn’t the only thing these important bills will accomplish. They will also help prevent us all from falling into a state of “fuel poverty.” In 2009 in England, 1 in 5 households (5.5 million) was living in fuel poverty . Fuel poverty is defined as a household having to spend 10 percent of their annual income to keep their residence warm.
Since 2004, the cost of energy in the UK increased by 117 percent. Further predictions indicate that the average UK household could face fuel poverty by 2015.
One of the major factors behind increasing fuel poverty in the UK is government policies instituted to meet carbon stabilization targets. As a result of these measures, electricity prices in the UK are already among the highest of any industrialized country in the world. By 2050 electricity prices will double.
Aspects of I-937 threaten to dismantle our hydropower systems, blight our landscapes with windmills, and destroy our quality of life with exponentially increasing energy costs.
We now recognize the unintended consequences from I-937. Please email your representatives to support these important bills. We can make a difference. Visit krowsnest.org for more information.