The state of Washington has passed legislation that requires all public facilities to consider the use of renewable energy, facilities.KENT, Washington, US, 2001-05-25 [SolarAccess.com] HB 2247 was signed into law on May 8 by Governor Gary Locke. The bill requires electric utilities to offer green power to customers by next January. Utilities must notify customers regularly through billing statements of voluntary options to purchase renewable energy at fixed or variable rates. The green power can be generated from wind, solar, geothermal, landfill gas, wastewater treatment gas, wave or tidal action, biomass, and low-impact hydro. “I am pleased that most of the energy package that I proposed last fall survived the legislative crucible to become EHB 2247,” Locke says. “The bill balances the need to promote energy efficiency with the development of renewable and traditional energy sources.” “I’m also pleased the Legislature passed HB 1859, which extends tax exemptions for small solar, wind and fuel cell projects, as I proposed last fall, and SB 6107, which extends for ten years the current laws regarding geothermal energy development in our state.” The bills were signed during a ceremony at Millennium Elementary School in Kent. The facility uses earth energy to heat and cool the building, and also uses wind turbines and solar panels. The Engrossed House Bill 2247 (Energy Supply & Demand Management) was passed unanimously by the House and with only one objector in the Senate. “The legislature finds that the present and predicted growth in energy demands in the state of Washington requires the development of a procedure for the selection and utilization of sites for energy facilities and the identification of a state position with respect to each proposed site,” it reads. “It is the policy of the state of Washington to recognize the pressing need for increased energy facilities, and to ensure through available and reasonable methods, that the location and operation of such facilities will produce minimal adverse effects on the environment, ecology of the land and its wildlife, and the ecology of state waters and their aquatic life.” Publicly owned or leased facilities have a significant impact on energy consumption in the state, and energy conservation and renewable energy systems at such facilities “will have a beneficial effect on our overall supply of energy.” The cost of the energy consumed over the life of the facilities shall be considered in addition to the initial cost of constructing such facilities, and it requires that renewable energy systems “shall be considered in the design of all publicly owned or leased facilities.” At least three energy alternatives must be examined for each public building, at least one of which shall be a renewable energy system.