Chapter 230, Laws of 2023
68th Legislature
2023 Regular Session
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 23, 2023
Passed by the House April 14, 2023 CERTIFICATE
Yeas 78 Nays 18
I, Bernard Dean, Chief Clerk of the
House of Representatives of the
LAURIE JINKINS State of Washington, do hereby
Speaker of the House of certify that the attached is
BILL 1216 as passed by the House of
Representatives and the Senate on
the dates hereon set forth.
Passed by the Senate April 8, 2023
Yeas 30 Nays 18
DENNY HECK Chief Clerk
President of the Senate
Approved May 3, 2023 10:20 AM FILED
May 4, 2023
Secretary of State
JAY INSLEE State of Washington
Governor of the State of Washington
Passed Legislature - 2023 Regular Session
State of Washington 68th Legislature 2023 Regular Session
By House Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives
Fitzgibbon, Doglio, Berry, Reed, Simmons, Macri, Fosse, and Pollet;
by request of Office of the Governor)
1 AN ACT Relating to clean energy siting; amending RCW 44.39.010
2 and 44.39.012; adding a new section to chapter 80.50 RCW; adding new
3 sections to chapter 43.21C RCW; adding a new section to chapter
4 36.70B RCW; adding a new section to chapter 36.01 RCW; adding new
5 chapters to Title 43 RCW; creating new sections; prescribing
6 penalties; and providing an expiration date.
9 legislature finds that efficient and effective siting and permitting
10 of new clean energy projects throughout Washington is necessary to:
11 Fight climate change and achieve the state's greenhouse gas emission
12 limits; improve air quality; grow family-wage clean energy jobs and
13 innovative clean energy businesses that provide economic benefits
14 across the state; and make available secure domestic sources of the
15 clean energy products needed to transition off fossil fuels.
16 (2) The legislature intends to: Enable more efficient and
17 effective siting and permitting of clean energy projects with
18 policies and investments that protect the environment, overburdened
19 communities, and tribal rights, interests, and resources, including
20 cultural resources; bring benefits to the communities that host clean
21 energy projects; and facilitate the rapid transition to clean energy
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1 that is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on
2 Washington's people and places. There is no single solution for
3 improved siting and permitting processes. Rather, a variety of
4 efforts and investments will help bring together state, local,
5 tribal, and federal governments, communities, workers, clean energy
6 project developers, and others to succeed in this essential task. The
7 legislature intends to make biennial appropriations to support tribal
8 review of clean energy project proposals, permit applications, and
9 environmental reviews, as well as tribal participation in up-front
10 planning for clean energy projects, such as nonproject environmental
11 impact statements for clean energy projects as described in this act.
12 (3) Efficient and effective siting and permitting will benefit
13 from early and meaningful community and tribal engagement, and from
14 up-front planning including identification of areas of higher and
15 lower levels of impact, and nonproject environmental review that
16 identifies measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate project impacts.
17 (4) Incorporating the principles and strategies identified in
18 subsections (1), (2), and (3) of this section, the legislature
19 intends to invest in, facilitate, and require better coordinated,
20 faster environmental review and permitting decisions by state and
21 local governments.
22 (5) Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to support
23 efficient, effective siting and permitting of clean energy projects
24 through a variety of interventions, including:
25 (a) Establishing an interagency clean energy siting coordinating
26 council to improve siting and permitting of clean energy projects;
27 (b) Creating a designation for clean energy projects of statewide
28 significance;
29 (c) Creating a fully coordinated permit process for clean energy
30 projects;
31 (d) Improving processes for review of clean energy projects under
32 the state environmental policy act;
33 (e) Requiring preparation of separate nonproject environmental
34 impact statements for green electrolytic and renewable hydrogen
35 projects and colocated battery energy storage facilities, onshore
36 utility-scale wind energy projects and colocated battery energy
37 storage facilities, and for solar energy projects and colocated
38 battery energy storage facilities, with the goal of preparing these
39 nonproject reviews by June 30, 2025; and
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1 (f) Requiring the Washington State University energy program to
2 complete by June 30, 2025, a siting information process for pumped
3 storage projects in Washington.
4 PART 1
7 COORDINATING COUNCIL. (1) The interagency clean energy siting
8 coordinating council is created. The coordinating council is
9 cochaired by the department of commerce and the department of ecology
10 with participation from the following:
11 (a) The office of the governor;
12 (b) The energy facility site evaluation council;
13 (c) The department of fish and wildlife;
14 (d) The department of agriculture;
15 (e) The governor's office of Indian affairs;
16 (f) The department of archaeology and historic preservation;
17 (g) The department of natural resources;
18 (h) The department of transportation;
19 (i) The utilities and transportation commission;
20 (j) The governor's office for regulatory innovation and
21 assistance;
22 (k) Staff from the environmental justice council; and
23 (l) Other state and federal agencies invited by the department of
24 commerce and the department of ecology with key roles in siting clean
25 energy to participate on an ongoing or ad hoc basis.
26 (2) The department of commerce and department of ecology shall
27 assign staff in each agency to lead the coordinating council's work
28 and provide ongoing updates to the governor and appropriate
29 committees of the legislature, including those with jurisdiction over
30 the environment, energy, or economic development policy.
31 (3) For purposes of this section and section 102 of this act,
32 "coordinating council" means the interagency clean energy siting
33 coordinating council created in this section.
35 COORDINATING COUNCIL DUTIES. (1) The responsibilities of the
36 coordinating council include, but are not limited to:
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1 (a) Identifying actions to improve siting and permitting of clean
2 energy projects as defined in section 201 of this act, including
3 through review of the recommendations of the department of ecology
4 and department of commerce's 2022 Low Carbon Energy Facility Siting
5 Improvement Report, creating implementation plans and timelines, and
6 making recommendations for needed funding or policy changes;
7 (b) Tracking federal government efforts to improve clean energy
8 project siting and permitting, including potential federal funding
9 sources, and identifying state agency actions to improve coordination
10 across state, local, and federal processes or to pursue supportive
11 funding;
12 (c) Conducting outreach to parties with interests in clean energy
13 siting and permitting for ongoing input on how to improve state
14 agency processes and actions;
15 (d) Establishing work groups as needed to focus on specific
16 energy types such as solar, wind, battery storage, or emerging
17 technologies, or specific geographies for clean energy project
18 siting;
19 (e) The creation of advisory committees deemed necessary to
20 inform the development of items identified in (a) through (d) of this
21 subsection;
22 (f) Supporting the governor's office of Indian affairs in
23 creating and updating annually, or when requested by a federally
24 recognized Indian tribe, a list of contacts at federally recognized
25 Indian tribes, applicable tribal laws on consultation from federally
26 recognized Indian tribes, and tribal preferences regarding outreach
27 about clean energy project siting and permitting, such as outreach by
28 developers directly, by state government in the government-to-
29 government relationship, or both;
30 (g) Supporting the department of archaeology and historic
31 preservation, the governor's office of Indian affairs, the department
32 of commerce, and the energy facility site evaluation council in
33 developing and providing to clean energy project developers a
34 training on consultation and engagement processes for federally
35 recognized Indian tribes. The governor's office of Indian affairs
36 must collaborate with federally recognized Indian tribes in the
37 development of the training;
38 (h) Supporting the department of archaeology and historic
39 preservation in updating the statewide predictive archaeological
40 model to provide clean energy project developers information about
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1 where archaeological resources are likely to be found and the
2 potential need for archaeological investigations; and
3 (i) Supporting and promptly providing information to the
4 department of ecology in support of the nonproject reviews required
5 under section 303 of this act.
6 (2) The coordinating council shall provide an annual report
7 beginning October 1, 2024, to the governor and the appropriate
8 committees of the legislature summarizing: Progress on efficient,
9 effective, and responsible siting and permitting of clean energy
10 projects; areas of additional work, including where clean energy
11 project siting and permitting outcomes are not broadly recognized as
12 efficient, effective, or responsible; resource needs; recommendations
13 for future nonproject environmental impact statements for categories
14 of clean energy projects; and any needed policy changes to help
15 achieve the deployment of clean energy necessary to meet the state's
16 statutory greenhouse gas emissions limits, chapter 70A.45 RCW, and
17 the clean energy transformation act requirements, chapter 19.405 RCW,
18 and to support achieving the state energy strategy adopted by the
19 department of commerce.
20 (3) The coordinating council shall:
21 (a) Advise the department of commerce in:
22 (i) Contracting with an external, independent third party to:
23 (A) Carry out an evaluation of state agency siting and permitting
24 processes for clean energy projects and related federal and state
25 regulatory requirements, including the energy facility site
26 evaluation council permitting process authorized in chapter 80.50
27 RCW;
28 (B) Identify successful models used in other states for the
29 siting and permitting of projects similar to clean energy projects,
30 including local and state government programs to prepare build ready
31 clean energy sites; and
32 (C) Develop recommendations for improving these processes,
33 including potential policy changes and funding, with the goal of more
34 efficient, effective siting of clean energy projects; and
35 (ii) Reporting on the evaluation and recommendations in (a)(i) of
36 this subsection to the governor and the legislature by July 1, 2024;
37 (b) Pursue development of a consolidated clean energy application
38 similar to the joint aquatic resources permit application for, at a
39 minimum, state permits needed for clean energy projects. The
40 department of ecology shall lead this effort and engage with federal
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1 agencies and local governments to explore inclusion of federal and
2 local permit applications as part of the consolidated application.
3 The department may design a single consolidated application for
4 multiple clean energy project types, may design separate applications
5 for individual clean energy technologies, or may design an
6 application for related resources. The department of ecology shall
7 provide an update on its development of consolidated permit
8 applications for clean energy projects to the governor and
9 legislature by December 31, 2024. The consolidated permit application
10 process must be available, but not required, for clean energy
11 projects;
12 (c) Explore development of a consolidated permit for clean energy
13 projects. The department of ecology shall lead this effort and, in
14 consultation with federally recognized Indian tribes, explore options
15 including a clean energy project permit that consolidates department
16 of ecology permits only, or that consolidates permits from multiple
17 state and local agencies. The permit structure must identify criteria
18 or conditions that must be met for projects to use the consolidated
19 permit. The department of ecology may analyze criteria or conditions
20 as part of a nonproject review under chapter 43.21C RCW. The
21 department of ecology shall update the legislature on its evaluation
22 of consolidated permit options and make recommendations by October 1,
23 2024;
24 (d) Determine priorities for categories of clean energy projects
25 to be the focus of new nonproject environmental impact statements
26 under chapter 43.21C RCW for the legislature to fund subsequent to
27 the nonproject environmental impact statements specified in section
28 302 of this act; and
29 (e) Consider and provide recommendations to the legislature on
30 additional benefits that could be provided to projects designated as
31 clean energy projects of statewide significance under section 203 of
32 this act.
33 PART 2
36 NEW SECTION. Sec. 201. DEFINITIONS. The definitions in this
37 section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly
38 requires otherwise.
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1 (1) "Alternative energy resource" has the same meaning as defined
2 in RCW 80.50.020.
3 (2) "Alternative jet fuel" means a fuel that can be blended and
4 used with conventional petroleum jet fuels without the need to modify
5 aircraft engines and existing fuel distribution infrastructure and
6 that meets the greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements that
7 apply to biomass-derived fuels as defined in RCW 70A.65.010.
8 "Alternative jet fuel" includes jet fuels derived from coprocessed
9 feedstocks at a conventional petroleum refinery.
10 (3) "Applicant" means a person applying to the department of
11 commerce for designation of a development project as a clean energy
12 project of statewide significance under this chapter.
13 (4)(a) "Associated facilities" means storage, transmission,
14 handling, or other related and supporting facilities connecting a
15 clean energy project with the existing energy supply, processing, or
16 distribution system including, but not limited to, battery energy
17 storage communications, controls, mobilizing or maintenance
18 equipment, instrumentation, and other types of ancillary storage and
19 transmission equipment, off-line storage or venting required for
20 efficient operation or safety of the transmission system and
21 overhead, and surface or subsurface lines of physical access for the
22 inspection, maintenance, and safe operations of the transmission
23 facility and new transmission lines constructed to operate at nominal
24 voltages of at least 115,000 volts to connect a clean energy project
25 to the northwest power grid.
26 (b) Common carrier railroads or motor vehicles are not associated
27 facilities.
28 (5) "Clean energy product manufacturing facility" means a
29 facility or a project at any facility that exclusively or primarily
30 manufactures the following products or components primarily used by
31 such pro