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Measures would restore common sense to energy

I agree with Meghan Anderson’s Nov. 5 letter to the editor – it is time to revise the state’s energy initiative.

In the wake of the most recent wind farm fight and the commissioners’ rejection of Columbia Plateau Energy Facility’s proposed overlay expansion (“Commissioners take decisive action on overlay,” In Our View, Oct. 27) I became aware of the legislative bills referenced in Ms. Anderson’s letter.  The bills – Senate Bill 5964 and its companion bill, House Bill 2124, and House Bill 2101 – propose changes to the state’s Energy Independence Act aka Initiative 937 of 2006 (RCW 19.285).

Passage of these bills would, in my opinion, help negate the need for new commercial wind projects. Maybe then we could stop the never-ending wind farm battle in this county, something the 2007 pre-identified wind farm overlay zone apparently isn’t able to do, though many of us hoped it would.

 The Energy Independence Act is problematic in ways that go beyond unwanted wind farms.  I-937 may have been well-intentioned but it lacks common sense.  It requires utility districts with more than 25,000 customers to use clean, renewable energy resources yet excludes the cleanest, cheapest, most abundant renewable energy resource we have – water.  Moreover, these utilities are required to pay for eligible renewable energy even if they don’t need it. The renewable energy they may already have – hydropower – doesn’t count. 

It is wasteful and foolish to require utilities to replace power they already have with alternative forms of energy that are more expensive but no greener.  The absurd consequence is an artificial demand for more wind energy (or other eligible renewable) at much greater cost. We consumers and businesses will be the ones paying for these higher costs, and it isn’t necessary. Nor is it necessary to continue the industrial destructiveness caused by commercial wind farms. 

The act’s idealistic goal is out of touch with reality and good business sense. In light of the severe economic decline of the past few years, the unnecessary costs are unconscionable. 

SB 5964/HB 2124 proposes:  “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 proposes:  “Recognizing hydroelectric power as an eligible renewable resource.”

What could be more practical?

Greg Tudor