(1) Beginning January 1, 2002, each electric utility must provide to its retail electricity customers a voluntary option to purchase qualified alternative energy resources in accordance with this section.
(2) Each electric utility must include with its retail electric customer's regular billing statements, at least quarterly, a voluntary option to purchase qualified alternative energy resources. The option may allow customers to purchase qualified alternative energy resources at fixed or variable rates and for fixed or variable periods of time, including but not limited to monthly, quarterly, or annual purchase agreements. A utility may provide qualified alternative energy resource options through either: (a) Resources it owns or contracts for; or (b) the purchase of credits issued by a clearinghouse or other system by which the utility may secure, for trade or other consideration, verifiable evidence that a second party has a qualified alternative energy resource and that the second party agrees to transfer such evidence exclusively to the benefit of the utility.
(3) For the purposes of this section, a "qualified alternative energy resource" means the electricity or thermal energy produced from generation facilities that are fueled by: (a) Wind; (b) solar energy; (c) geothermal energy; (d) landfill gas; (e) wave or tidal action; (f) gas produced during the treatment of wastewater; (g) qualified hydropower; or (h) biomass energy based on animal waste or solid or liquid organic fuels from wood, forest, or field residues, or dedicated energy crops that do not include wood pieces that have been treated with chemical preservatives such as creosote, pentachlorophenol, or copper-chrome-arsenic.
(4) For the purposes of this section, "qualified hydropower" means the energy produced either: (a) As a result of modernizations or upgrades made after June 1, 1998, to hydropower facilities operating on May 8, 2001, that have been demonstrated to reduce the mortality of anadromous fish; or (b) by run of the river or run of the canal hydropower facilities that are not responsible for obstructing the passage of anadromous fish.
(5) The rates, terms, conditions, and customer notification of each utility's option or options offered in accordance with this section must be approved by the governing body of the consumer-owned utility or by the commission for investor-owned utilities. All costs and benefits associated with any option offered by an electric utility under this section must be allocated to the customers who voluntarily choose that option and may not be shifted to any customers who have not chosen such option. Utilities may pursue known, lawful aggregated purchasing of qualified alternative energy resources with other utilities to the extent aggregated purchasing can reduce the unit cost of qualified alternative energy resources, and are encouraged to investigate opportunities to aggregate the purchase of alternative energy resources by their customers. Aggregated purchases by investor-owned utilities must comply with any applicable rules or policies adopted by the commission related to least-cost planning or the acquisition of renewable resources.
(6) Each consumer-owned utility must maintain and make available upon request of the department and each investor-owned utility must maintain and make available upon request of the commission information describing the option or options it is offering its customers under the requirements of this section, the rate of customer participation, the amount of qualified alternative energy resources purchased by customers, the amount of utility investments in qualified alternative energy resources, and the results of pursuing aggregated purchasing opportunities. The department and the commission shall report the information to the appropriate committees of the legislature upon request.
[2014 c 129 § 1; 2012 c 112 § 1. Prior: 2002 c 285 § 6; 2002 c 191 § 1; 2001 c 214 § 28.]
Severability—Effective date—2001 c 214:
See notes following RCW 80.50.010
Findings—2001 c 214:
See note following RCW 39.35.010