WENATCHEE - As the Legislative session in Olympia is coming to a close, the Chelan County Public Utility District gave a carbon update at their regular commission meeting Tuesday, February 20.

Senate Bill 6203, which is still in the Senate committee, would impose a $12-$30 tax increase by $1.80 per year. Senate Bill 6253, which is on the Senate floor calendar, is prescribing penalties and setting expiration dates on the use of fossil fuels and carbon use.

House Bill 2402, which is still in House committee, is a new act prescribing penalties to the Energy Independence Act. House Bill 2283, which is in committee and sponsored by Wenatchee’s Cary Condotta, reduces the cost of transition to clean energy and provides expiration dates for transitions.

Tracy Yount, External Affairs director and Gregg Carrington, Energy Resources managing director, gave the update on what they knew so far regarding potential bills. The analysis took a look on the impacts of what these bills would do to northwest utilities. 

They have resolved models for potentials of each bill passing and a comparison summary in order to know which pathway is the best for lowest cost and reduction of greenhouse gas.

Their findings include that the most cost-effective opportunity to reduce carbon in the electric sector is to replace coal with energy efficiency renewables and natural gases. Natural gases need to be a flexible capacity resource reliability. Additional renewable resources are also essential.

Capping trades on carbon tax approaches cost less than an increase to the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Prohibition of new natural gases add a significant cost but does little to reduce GHG emissions.

Existing zero-carbon resources are extremely valuable, increasing by $1.6 billion per year. Research and development will be needed for the next generation of energy efficient measures.

Vehicle Electrification is a low cost measure for carbon reduction in the transportation measure and early carbon reduction would achieve opportunity.

As of right now, the PUD doesn’t plan to take a position on any of the pending legislation. The Legislative sessions last day for regular session is March 8 under state constitution.

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