OLYMPIA -- A bill allowing hydroelectric power generated in irrigation canals and certain water pipes to be classified as green energy passed the state Senate on Tuesday.
House Bill 2733, sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, passed with a 39-10 vote.
The bill allows small hydroelectric projects in irrigation canals to count as renewable energy under the Energy Independence Act, passed by voters in 2006 as Initiative 937.
Haler said in a news release that farmers, ranchers, orchardists and landowners often have water moving around their properties. If they want to, they should be able to reap the benefits, he said.
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The bill would apply to hydroelectric generation from projects created after March 31, 1999, and where power generation doesn't result in new water diversions or impoundments.
The bill is very similar to another of Haler's bills, 1950, which passed the House but not the Senate during the legislative session. He said the current bill reflects suggested amendments for the prior bill.
Haler told the Herald prior to the vote that he felt positive the bill would pass, but was still a little nervous about it.