Legislation to allow hydroelectric projects in irrigation canals has passed the Washington State House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored, by Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, allows power generated by these projects to qualify as renewable energy under the state's Energy Independence Act created by Initiative 937. The act requires utilities to buy increasing percentages of electric power from certain types of renewable energy projects.
Farmers, ranchers and orchardists can recover some of the cost of pumping irrigation water and can receive renewable energy credits they can sell, Haler said.
To qualify under the bill, hydroelectric projects must have been completed after March 31, 1999, and the generation facility must be in canals or irrigation and wastewater pipes where the generation does not result in new water diversions.