Inslee vetoes bill that would have benefited bioenergy

By Erin Voegele | April 12, 2016

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee recently vetoed legislation that would have benefited older biomass facilities by allowing those producing electricity through certain recent capital investments to generate credits for compliance with the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

According to information published by the Washington legislature, the bill, S.B. 6166, would have revised the definition of “eligible renewable resource” under the state’s Energy Independence Act, which established Washington’s RPS program. The new definition would have included incremental electricity produced as a result of a capital investment completed after March 31, 1999, that increases, relative to a baseline level of generation prior to the capital investment, the amount of electricity generated that generates qualified biomass energy and that commenced operation before March 31, 1999.

The measure passed the Washington Senate by a vote of 35 to 13 on Feb. 9, and passed the senate by a vote of 66 to 31 on March 4. Inslee vetoed the bill on April 1.

In a veto message published by the state legislature, Inslee said that while he appreciated the intent of the bill to encourage owners to make capital investments that increase the efficiency and use of renewable energy at older biomass facilities, he thought “the bill would undermine investments in renewable energy previously made by others.”

“I remain open to changes in our renewable energy standards that encourage new investments and new technologies, without displacing current investments,” Inslee continued.