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Hydropower bill makes it through state Senate

OLYMPIA – A bill allowing utility companies to designate incremental hydropower as renewable narrowly passed the Senate on Thursday with a 28-20 vote.

Senate Bill 6058, originally sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, would help companies with power outputs marketed by the Bonneville Power Administration comply with the Energy Independence Act, also known as Initiative 937.

The initiative, passed in 2006, requires utilities to designate percentages of their power loads as renewable. Currently, that number is 3 percent, but will increase to 9 percent in 2016 and 15 percent in 2020.

Proponents say the bill will help keep federal incremental power inexpensive and make it more efficient.

The measure’s House companion bill, 2112, is co-sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, but has not seen action during the legislative session.