Keeping the lights on. That’s the premise behind a bill by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker that gained unanimous approval Thursday in the state House of Representatives.
“This bill came to me from PUD commissioners who have concerns that as we transition to green energy, we also consider the intermittency of the alternative energy sources along the way,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale. “It looks to the future and asks what this state will do to prevent rolling electrical blackouts and brownouts, or any energy inadequacy event.”
House Bill 1623 would extend the requirement for the Department of Commerce and the Utilities and Transportation Commission to jointly convene resource adequacy stakeholder meetings annually through 2029. The purpose of those meetings is to discuss the adequacy of the state’s energy resources and to address steps utilities can take to coordinate planning that would ensure sufficient electrical energy supplies to meet demand.
“In our rural areas, many families and senior citizens rely exclusively on electric energy. If there’s a power outage in the winter, it can be dangerous if they go without heat. We’ve got to plan ahead to ensure all customers are served without a loss of power,” said Mosbrucker. “We want to make sure we are considering what to do if, in the coming years, we don’t have enough energy storage to keep the lights on.”
The measure also requires the 2022 energy resource adequacy stakeholder meeting to address the risk of rolling blackouts and electrical inadequacy events, discuss how proposed electrification laws and regulations may require new state policy for resource adequacy, and identify incentives to ensure sufficient electrical supplies.
Lawmakers in the House approved the measure, 93-0, It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.