Renewable Energy Bills Pass Washington State House Committee

Progressive energy legislation passed out of the House Technology, Energy and Communications Committee, moving Washington State closer toward energy independence.

“Biofuels and bioenergy are more than buzzwords — they mean more jobs in rural and urban areas, cleaner air and long-term energy security,” said Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Anacortes), chair of the energy committee. “Washingtonians spend 25 million dollars a day on gas and diesel. Even a portion of that money going to Washington crops and farmers will help wean us from dependence on fossil fuels.” The three bioenergy bills passed by the committee boost biofuel projects with Energy Freedom grants and loans, require a minimum content of ethanol and biodiesel in fuels, and create a bioenergy loan program for low-cost financing of renewable energy. — The Energy Freedom Program, House Bill 2939, creates an account to deliver grants and low-cost loans for strategic investment in biofuel and other renewable energy projects, research and infrastructure that advance Washington State toward energy independence. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Grant (D-Walla Walla), calls for an Energy Freedom Board to review applications for grants or loans from the $100 million fund. — House Bill 2738 would require all diesel sold in Washington State to contain 2 percent biodiesel and all gasoline to contain 2 percent ethanol by December 1, 2008, or sooner if enough Washington crops are available to meet the 2 percent requirement. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Janea Holmquist (R-Moses Lake), would also increase the biodiesel requirement to 5 percent if Washington State crops and crushing capacity can meet the 2 percent level. The state Department of Agriculture would make the determination if sufficient raw materials are available to support the higher biofuel standards. — House Bill 2775, sponsored by Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-Covington), establishes a bioenergy loan program for projects to convert farm waste or crops into biofuels and create or retain jobs. The program would allow loans up to $5 million, with minimal costs and low interest rates for the recipient. “Washington State has been a leader in providing incentives for biodiesel and alternative fuels. These are the next logical steps to help a fledgling industry,” Morris said. Bill Information: use links below


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