Tag: Washington

1
The Energizer – Volume 87
2
Washington State Legislature Considers First of Its Kind State-Level Natural Gas Ban
3
Tax Developments Provide Opportunities for Economic Growth in Indian Country
4
Washington State Legislation May Facilitate Cost Recovery for Coal Plant Retirement
5
K&L Gates and CleanTech Alliance to host Washington Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund 2 Virtual Bidder’s Conference on January 12, 2016
6
Public Meetings on the Clean Energy Fund II: Next Up: Spokane, WA on December 17
7
Greenhouse Gas Regulation in Washington: What the Clean Power Plan and Washington Clean Air Rule Mean for the State
8
The “Washington Clean Air Rule” is coming
9
WUTC Investigation Shines the Spotlight on How to Value Energy Storage – Comments Due September 25, 2015
10
Washington UTC clarifies its authority to regulate third-party ownership of solar panels and requests further legislative direction

The Energizer – Volume 87

By: Buck B. Endemann, Daniel S. Cohen, Molly K. Barker, Olivia B. Mora, Natalie J. Reid, Matthew P. Clark

There is a lot of buzz around clean technology, distributed energy resources (DERs), microgrids, and other technological innovations in renewable energy and clean transport industries, and how these developments can contribute to solving longstanding environmental justice issues. As these innovations develop, energy markets will undergo substantial changes to which consumers and industry participants alike will need to adapt and leverage. Every other week, K&L Gates’ The Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of DERs, energy storage, emerging technologies, hydrogen, and other innovations driving the energy industry forward.

IN THIS ISSUE: 

  • Industry Stakeholders Announce Formation of Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition
  • Perovskite Solar Modules Exceed 20 Percent Efficiency
  • Green Hydrogen Fund Backed by Corporate Energy Heavyweights
  • TRi Energy Partnership Progresses Towards Modular Reactor in Washington

Washington State Legislature Considers First of Its Kind State-Level Natural Gas Ban

By: David Benson, Buck Endemann, Elizabeth Thomas, Sandra Safro, and Benjamin Mayer

Fossil-based natural gas may be headed for a reckoning, at least in Washington State. Not long ago, natural gas was seen by many as the key “bridge fuel” necessary to transition our society away from oil and coal. Natural gas has its upsides; most significantly, it burns more efficiently and emits fewer pollutants than coal.1 Yet burning natural gas still emits greenhouse gases (GHG), including methane, a potent climate pollutant. According to EPA, methane accounts for approximately 10% of the GHG emissions in the United States.2 That is a problem for states like Washington that have called for zero carbon emissions in the power sector by 2045 and have also enacted laws aimed at reducing GHG emissions throughout other sectors.

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Tax Developments Provide Opportunities for Economic Growth in Indian Country

By Bart J. Freedman, Benjamin A. Mayer, Christina A. Elles, and Francesca M. Eick

Opportunities for economic growth in Indian country — including the development of retail space, hotels and resorts, energy projects, data farms, and more traditional farming activities, to name a few — are tied to several recent tax-related developments. These developments include federal regulations regarding the taxation of on-reservation real property and improvements leased and/or owned by non-Indians, whether tribes can collect sales taxes for on-reservation transactions with non-Indians, and how treaties can impact taxation of certain off-reservation activities. The developments are important for both tribes and nontribal parties interested in investing in on-reservation economic growth and development.

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Washington State Legislation May Facilitate Cost Recovery for Coal Plant Retirement

With a partial veto from Governor Inslee on April 1, 2016, Washington State has enacted legislation that may help Puget Sound Energy (PSE) recover costs associated with the decommissioning and remediation of its interest in the Colstrip coal-fired plant, which is located southwest of Billings, Montana. PSE owns half of the older two units of the Colstrip plant.  Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (SB) 6248 expressly authorizes the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC), after a hearing, to allow a utility to “to place amounts from one or more regulatory liabilities into a retirement account” for decommissioning and remediation costs for the older two units.  Thus the WUTC now has the express authority to allow PSE to use certain tax credits to help cover decommissioning and remediation costs at the Colstrip plant instead of returning those tax credits to customers over time.

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K&L Gates and CleanTech Alliance to host Washington Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund 2 Virtual Bidder’s Conference on January 12, 2016

The Washington State Department of Commerce is holding its Virtual Bidder’s Conference on January 12, 2016 at the Seattle office of K&L Gates to provide information to applicants about applying for Clean Energy Fund 2 grants.  As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the Clean Energy Fund provides grants to projects that support the development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies.  The CleanTech Alliance has been hosting a series of public meetings across Washington State to provide a platform for the Washington Department of Commerce to provide information to and answer questions from applicants.

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Public Meetings on the Clean Energy Fund II: Next Up: Spokane, WA on December 17

A series of public meetings are being held across Washington State to provide an update on the Washington State Legislature’s Clean Energy Fund II. The Clean Energy Fund provides grants to projects that support development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies and is administered by the Department of Commerce’s State Energy Office. Personnel from the Department of Commerce will be at each meeting to provide information and answer questions.

The next meeting is being held in Spokane, Washington at Avista Utilities. The meeting details are:

  • When: Thursday, December 17, 2015
    2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Where: Avista Utilities
    1411 E. Mission Avenue
    Spokane, WA 99202

If you are interested in attending the meeting on December 17 in Spokane, you can register here. We will keep you updated on future scheduled meetings and updates on the Clean Energy Fund II. More information on the Clean Energy Fund II can be found here.

Greenhouse Gas Regulation in Washington: What the Clean Power Plan and Washington Clean Air Rule Mean for the State

K&L Gates attorneys Ankur K. Tohan, Daniel C. Kelly-Stallings, and Alyssa A. Moir recently penned an article for the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) analyzing greenhouse gas regulation in Washington. Their article, “Greenhouse Gas Regulation in Washington: What the Clean Power Plan and Washington Clean Air Rule Mean for the State,” is available from the WSBA website.

The “Washington Clean Air Rule” is coming

Washington State is about to become the latest state to take local action to address global climate change. Governor Jay Inslee recently directed the Washington Department of Ecology (“Ecology”) to make new rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in the state. The new rules are scheduled to be adopted in summer 2016 and to take effect shortly thereafter.[1] The result will be called the “Washington Clean Air Rule.”[2]

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WUTC Investigation Shines the Spotlight on How to Value Energy Storage – Comments Due September 25, 2015

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (the “WUTC”) is in the midst of an investigation into methods for modeling the costs and benefits of energy storage in utility integrated resource plans (“IRPs”). During its review of the 2013 IRPs of Washington’s regulated utilities (Puget Sound Energy (“PSE”), Avista, and PacifiCorp), the WUTC directed the utilities to start considering how energy storage could be incorporated into future IRPs. As part of this effort, WUTC staff issued a white paper in May 2015: Modeling Energy Storage, Challenges and Opportunities for Washington Utilities. On August 7, the WUTC noticed a comment period on the white paper; the comment period closes on September 25, 2015. The WUTC will use the comments received during this period to determine whether it is necessary to give utilities direction on how energy storage should be treated in their planning and procurement processes, and may issue a policy statement at the end of the investigation to provide that guidance.

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Washington UTC clarifies its authority to regulate third-party ownership of solar panels and requests further legislative direction

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) has issued an interpretive policy statement clarifying its jurisdiction to regulate third-party owners of solar panels and other net metering systems as “Public Service Companies.” Docket No. UE-112133 (July 30, 2014) (statement).  While the WUTC’s policy statement  provides useful guidance on the agency’s current position and the action it will likely take in the future, the statement is not binding on the agency. Read More

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