My bills to promote renewable energy and telecommunications development pass Senate

Sen. Ericksen speaking on the Senate FloorToday the Senate approved two bills I proposed to encourage new forms of renewable energy and increase development in Washington’s telecommunications industry. Both bills received only favorable testimony during public hearings in the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, which I chair.

Two of my goals for this year are to promote new energy technologies and make Washington state a free-market leader for telecommunications. These bills represent two small steps forward towards those goals.

Senate Bill 5408 creates a new renewable energy credit for facilities that generate energy by converting methane gas to separate their non-power attributes.

Some dairies in our state are able to convert waste products from their animals into energy. Allowing them to receive renewable energy credits for it will encourage the practice.

Senate Bill 5098 updates an exemption in state law for removal, replacement or collacation of wireless communication structures. New structures that do not increase the height or width by more than 10 percent or 20 feet of their existing counterparts would be able to be built without going through review by the State Environmental Policy Act.

This is a simple bill that updates our state’s environmental policy act for cell towers and aligns it with federal law to make the siting of towers more efficient.

SB 5408 and SB 5098 now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.