Commerce adopts new rule for renewable generation from biomass

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Department of Commerce

Sept. 14, 2017

Commerce adopts new rule for renewable generation from biomass

The Washington Department of Commerce adopted a rule this week enabling owners of biomass-fired generating units to get credit under the state’s renewable energy law when they expand production.

Commerce acted to implement a law that took effect in July, Engrossed Senate Bill 5128. Before the new law, biomass-fired units that were built before 1999 did not have full eligibility under the Energy Independence Act (EIA). The EIA requires that electric companies use energy from renewable sources for part of their supply.

The legislation expands the list of eligible renewable energy to include electricity from pre-1999 biomass units if they make capital investments to increase output. Only the additional generation is eligible.

Biomass energy is defined to include a wide variety of wood residue and fuels, animal waste, food waste, yard waste, dedicated crops, and pulping byproducts. In 2017, biomass is providing 8.8 percent of the electricity used by utilities to meet their renewable energy targets.

The rules adopted this week specify how biomass units must document their baseline level of generation and capital investments. Industry and environmental representatives participated in the rulemaking process and supported the adoption of the rule.

The new rule is available on our EIA rulemaking web page.

Questions? Please contact Glenn Blackmon, (360) 725-3115

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