On May 31, 2018, Snohomish County PUD submitted its progress in meeting the targets for conservation and renewable energy under the Energy Independence Act (EIA). The District submitted its 2016-2017 conservation achievements final report and its 2018 renewable resource requirements to the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) for compliance with the EIA, adopted by Washington state voters in 2006 (see Department of Commerce website at: EIA Reporting - Washington State Department of Commerce).
The EIA enacted conservation and renewable resource requirements. This legislation is commonly referred to as “Initiative 937,” which requires Washington state electric utilities serving 25,000 or more customers to:
- Pursue all cost-effective energy conservation; and
- Obtain a specified portion of their electricity from certain renewable resources.
Snohomish PUD reported that it achieved total energy conservation of 197,264 megawatt-hours (MWh), for calendar years 2016-2017. This exceeds the PUD’s 2016-2017 biennial conservation target of 122,990 MWh.
The EIA provides three different methods a utility can demonstrate it complies with the annual renewable resource requirement, which increases the amount of renewable energy or renewable energy credits (RECs) a utility must use to serve its customers:
- Method 1 – Renewables Target: A qualifying utility must serve its load with an increasing percentage or target of eligible renewable resources, RECs or a combination of both, by a certain date. The targets are 3% renewables as a percentage of load by 2012, 9% by 2016 and 15% by 2020; or
- Method 2 – No Load Growth/1% Investment: A qualifying utility can demonstrate compliance if it can show it has experienced minimal or no load growth over a three-year period; has only acquired renewable energy or has offset non-renewable energy with RECs; and has invested at least 1% of its total retail revenue requirement in renewable energy or RECs; or
- Method 3 – 4% Financial Investment: A qualifying utility can demonstrate compliance if it can demonstrate it has invested at least four percent of its total annual retail revenue requirement on the incremental cost of renewable resources meeting the EIA. Under this compliance method, a utility calculates the incremental cost of the eligible renewable resources, compared to an alternate or non-renewable resource or resources.
In Snohomish PUD’s filing with Commerce for the 2018 renewables compliance period, Method 1 was elected to demonstrate compliance with the EIA’s 9% renewables target. The PUD will continue to evaluate its renewables compliance strategy and incorporate updates every two years as part of the integrated resource planning and budget planning process (see the Snohomish PUD Draft 2017 IRP).