2019 Energy Legislation
In 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed a set of bills setting an ambitious, multi-decade agenda that changes how electric and natural gas utilities acquire resources and provide energy services to Washington businesses and consumers. Among the 11 bills was the passage of Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5116, known as the Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), which requires Washington's electric utilities to eliminate carbon emissions from their energy resources by 2045.
CETA: A Brief Overview
CETA requires the state's electric utilities to fully transition to clean, renewable and non-emitting resources by 2045. Washington's investor-owned utilities (IOUs) must develop and implement plans.
The act sets the following mandatory targets:
- 2025 – All electric utilities must eliminate coal-fired generation serving Washington state customers.
- 2030 – All electric utilities must be greenhouse gas neutral—for example, remaining carbon emissions are offset by renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon reduction project investments, or payments funding low-income assistance.
- 2045 – All electric utilities must generate 100% of their power from renewable or zero-carbon resources.
The act contains provisions to ensure electric service reliability by allowing the UTC to temporarily relieve a utility of its greenhouse gas reduction obligation if the electric grid's reliability or safety is compromised. The act also contains safeguards for consumers to prevent electric bills from rapidly increasing as a result of the utilities' transition to clean energy resources. The UTC will review the utilities' financial plans for reducing and eliminating emissions from electric generation resources through the established rate case process.