WASHINGTON UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION Puget Sound Energy and Avista on track to meet 2019 renewable energy targets

  • Aug 13, 2019
  • Electric Energy

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission found Puget Sound Energy and Avista, two of the state's investor-owned electric utilities, are in compliance with state renewable energy requirements.

  The Energy Independence Act, approved by voters in 2006, requires qualifying electric utilities to obtain a certain percentage of their electricity from eligible renewable resources, including wind, solar, and hydro power.

  As part of the EIA requirements, the companies filed reports detailing their renewable portfolios and how each utility will supply at least 9 percent of its electric load through renewable sources for 2019.

  The three-member commission determined that PSE and Avista complied with the state renewable resource standard. PSE exceeded its commission-approved target of 1.89 million megawatt hours of renewable power, acquiring more than 2.5 million. Avista exceeded its target of 514,144 megawatt hours, acquiring more than 800,000.

  The commission will review compliance by the state's other investor-owned electric utility, Pacific Power, at its Sept. 12 open meeting following further discussions between the commission's staff and the company.

  Each company will also file a final compliance report by 2021 showing exactly which resources were used to meet its target and request a determination from the commission that the utility complied with its target.

  The EIA also directs the companies to obtain 15 percent of their electricity from eligible renewable resources by 2020. The UTC determines whether each investor-owned utility meets its targets. The Washington State Department of Commerce oversees the targets for the state's consumer-owned utilities.

  In 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a set of bills changing how electric utilities acquire resources and provide energy services to Washington businesses and consumers. Among the 11 bills was the passage of Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5116, known as the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), which requires Washington's electric utilities to eliminate carbon emissions from their energy resources by 2045. In the coming months, as the commission continues to oversee the electric utility compliance with the EIA, the commission will work to implement the rules and requirements for utilities to meet the 2019 legislative requirements.

  Bellevue-based PSE provides electricity service to more than 1.1 million electric customers in eight Washington counties: Island, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Pierce, Skagit, Thurston, and Whatcom.

  Spokane-based Avista serves more than 250,000 electric customers in Eastern Washington.

  The UTC is the state agency that regulates private, investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington. It is the commission's responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.

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