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Governor signs legislation paving the way for PUDs to produce and sell renewable transportation fuel

The Washington Public Utility Districts Association applauds a bill signed by Governor Jay Inslee that paves the way for public utility districts to produce and sell renewable transportation fuel; adding value to PUD projects and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill’s primary sponsor was Senator Curtis King whose District (14th) includes Klickitat County, the location of a Klickitat PUD project that uses landfill gas from the Roosevelt Regional Landfill to generate renewable electricity. The legislation will allow Klickitat PUD to expand the project to produce and sell renewable natural gas (RNG) as a transportation fuel. When RNG is used as a transportation fuel it displaces gasoline or diesel with a renewable fuel, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. This new authority adds value to the PUD’s project, provides a substantial source of renewable fuel in the state, and reduces greenhouse gas from the transportation fleet, the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington.

The newly signed legislation also opens the door for Whatcom County PUD to expand their work with dairies in the area to produce and sell renewable natural gas from dairy digesters.  Whatcom County is the 10th largest dairy producing county in the country.  Whatcom PUD is currently working with Western Washington University and dairies in the county to address their excess dairy gas problem by researching economical methods to convert it to renewable natural gas. The legislation provides the PUD with the ability to develop a business model around renewable transportation fuel production and sales that could benefit the not-for-profit, community-owned PUD, local dairy operators and the environment of the state.

“This gives an option for PUDs to maximize the value of their investments in renewable energy and help the transportation sector reduce its carbon emissions,” said George Caan, Executive Director of the Washington Public Utility Districts Association. “It’s another way PUDs can meet the needs of the communities they serve.”  

The legislation was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate and the bill was signed by Governor Jay Inslee April 17. It goes into effect July 26, 2015. 
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The Washington Public Utility Districts Association represents 27 nonprofit, community-owned utilities that provide electricity, water and wastewater services, and wholesale telecommunications to more than 1.7 million people in Washington. In October 2007, WPUDA moved into its new headquarters in Olympia, the first new-construction office building in the state to receive “platinum” designation under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.. Watch video.

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Public Utility Districts are are nonprofit, locally regulated utilities that are created by a vote of the people. They were authorized in 1930 by a voter-approved initiative. Their charter under state law is to “conserve the water and power resources of the State of Washington for the benefit of the people thereof, and to supply public utility service, including water and electricity for all uses."

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