Renewable energy act hearing set Tuesday

A public hearing on the Energy Independence Act, requiring utilities to use renewable resources, is planned by the Franklin and Benton PUD commissions at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

It will be at the Benton PUD Auditorium, 2721 W. 10th Ave., Kennewick.

In 2006, voters approved Initiative 937, which required electric utilities with at least 25,000 customers to use certain renewable resources to meet a portion of its load, ranging from 3 percent next year to 15 percent in 2020.

Local utilities said that as a result, utilities are required to buy additional renewable power or equivalent credits, even if more power is not needed to serve customers.

Legislation was introduced in the 2011 Washington legislative session that would clarify that if a utility has excess energy under current contracts, it is not required to buy unneeded power.

The two PUDs want to hear opinions about the Energy Independence Act and the bill to modify it. Comments may be made at the meeting or by email to millerk@bentonpud.org or dbharris@franklinpud.com.