Olympia, Washington [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] A bill sponsored by Technology, Energy and Communications chair Jeff Morris (D-Anacortes) paves the way for Washington State to become a premier hub for testing and deploying new energy technologies in North America by standardizing the many interconnection standards in the state.Currently, if a company sought to install new electricity generation technologies in Washington State, they would have 63 different connection standards to negotiate, depending on where the installation is located. This bill creates one standard for every utility in Washington State. Northwest citizens are known for being early adopters of these energy innovations, such as advanced wind turbines and efficient solar panels, and small power producers would enjoy more possibilities for creating those new energy jobs with standard connections. House Bill 1011 would simplify standards for small power producers to connect to the electrical grid and expand “net metering” to 100 kW. It also gives procedures, time lines, and technical specifications for connecting a customer’s small electrical generation facility (10 megawatts or less) to an electrical distribution system. The net metering and interconnection legislation in Washington joins a string of rules being adopted by several states. In addition, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), among others, are developing interconnection requirements to ensure safety and reliability of the electrical transmission and distribution system. The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives. For more information on the bill, see the first of two links that follow this story. Alternative Fuels Package Moves out of Committee The cut-off date of March 1 has come and gone for House bills in the Technology, Energy and Communications Committee, and bills related to alternative fuels were passed during the committee’s session. The bills now go to either a fiscal committee (if there is a cost), or to the House Rules committee. A group of incentives for biodiesel production passed in 2003, and this new package of bills, sponsored by Rep. Brian Sullivan (D-Mukilteo), would expand the use of alternative fuels in Washington State. The bills are: – House Bill 1645 would make school districts exempt school districts from the state’s 28-cent-per-gallon special fuel tax on the bio-fuel portion of the fuel in their school buses, if they use more than a 20 percent blend. – House Bill 1646 would provide tax incentives for the production and distribution of alternative fuels. – House Bill 1647 would provide tax incentives for using and purchasing alternative fuel vehicles, alternative fuel refueling equipment, and alternative fuel. For more information on those bills see the second of two links below.