State of Washington 68th Legislature 2023 Regular Session
By Senate Environment, Energy & Technology (originally sponsored by
Senators Nguyen, Billig, Boehnke, Cleveland, Frame, Keiser, Kuderer,
Liias, Pedersen, Valdez, and C. Wilson)
1 AN ACT Relating to clean energy siting; adding new sections to
2 chapter 43.21C RCW; adding a new section to chapter 36.70B RCW;
3 adding a new section to chapter 36.01 RCW; adding new chapters to
4 Title 43 RCW; and creating new sections.
7 legislature finds that efficient and effective siting and permitting
8 of new clean energy projects throughout Washington is necessary to:
9 Fight climate change and achieve the state's greenhouse gas emission
10 limits; improve air quality; grow family-wage clean energy jobs and
11 innovative clean energy businesses that provide economic benefits
12 across the state; and make available secure domestic sources of the
13 clean energy products needed to transition off fossil fuels.
14 (2) The legislature intends to: Enable more efficient and
15 effective siting and permitting of clean energy projects with
16 policies and investments that protect the environment, overburdened
17 communities, and tribal rights, interests, and resources, including
18 cultural resources; bring benefits to the communities that host clean
19 energy projects; and facilitate the rapid transition to clean energy
20 that is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on
21 Washington's people and places. There is no single solution for
p. 1 SSB 5380
1 improved siting and permitting processes. Rather, a variety of
2 efforts and investments will help bring together state, local,
3 tribal, and federal governments, communities, workers, clean energy
4 project developers, and others to succeed in this essential task.
5 (3) Efficient and effective siting and permitting will benefit
6 from early and meaningful community and tribal engagement, and from
7 up-front planning including identification of least-conflict sites,
8 and nonproject environmental review that identifies measures to
9 avoid, minimize, and mitigate project impacts.
10 (4) Incorporating the principles and strategies identified in
11 subsections (1), (2), and (3) of this section, the legislature
12 intends to invest in, facilitate, and require better coordinated,
13 faster environmental review and permitting decisions by state and
14 local governments.
15 (5) Therefore, it is the intent of the legislature to support
16 efficient, effective siting and permitting of clean energy projects
17 through a variety of interventions, including:
18 (a) Establishing an interagency clean energy siting coordinating
19 council to improve siting and permitting of clean energy projects;
20 (b) Creating a designation for clean energy projects of statewide
21 significance;
22 (c) Creating a fully coordinated permit process for clean energy
23 projects;
24 (d) Improving processes for review of clean energy projects under
25 the state environmental policy act;
26 (e) Requiring preparation of separate nonproject environmental
27 impact statements for green electrolytic and renewable hydrogen
28 projects and colocated battery energy storage facilities, onshore
29 utility-scale wind energy projects and colocated battery energy
30 storage facilities, and for solar energy projects and colocated
31 battery energy storage facilities, with the goal of preparing these
32 nonproject reviews by June 30, 2025; and
33 (f) Requiring the Washington State University energy program to
34 complete by June 30, 2025, a least-conflict siting process for pumped
35 storage projects in Washington.
36 PART 1
p. 2 SSB 5380
2 COORDINATING COUNCIL. (1) The interagency clean energy siting
3 coordinating council is created. The coordinating council is
4 cochaired by the department of commerce and the department of ecology
5 with participation from the following:
6 (a) The office of the governor;
7 (b) The energy facility site evaluation council;
8 (c) The department of fish and wildlife;
9 (d) The department of agriculture;
10 (e) The governor's office of Indian affairs;
11 (f) The department of archaeology and historic preservation;
12 (g) The department of natural resources;
13 (h) The department of transportation;
14 (i) The utilities and transportation commission;
15 (j) The governor's office for regulatory innovation and
16 assistance; and
17 (k) Other state and federal agencies invited by the department of
18 commerce and the department of ecology with key roles in siting clean
19 energy to participate on an ongoing or ad hoc basis.
20 (2) The department of commerce and department of ecology shall
21 assign staff in each agency to lead the coordinating council's work
22 and provide ongoing updates to the governor and appropriate
23 committees of the legislature, including those with jurisdiction over
24 the environment, energy, or economic development policy.
25 (3) For purposes of this section and section 102 of this act,
26 "coordinating council" means the interagency clean energy siting
27 coordinating council created in this section.
29 COORDINATING COUNCIL DUTIES. (1) The responsibilities of the
30 coordinating council include, but are not limited to:
31 (a) Identifying actions to improve siting and permitting of clean
32 energy projects as defined in section 201 of this act, including
33 through review of the recommendations of the department of ecology
34 and department of commerce's 2022 Low Carbon Energy Facility Siting
35 Improvement Report, creating implementation plans and timelines, and
36 making recommendations for needed funding or policy changes;
37 (b) Tracking federal government efforts to improve clean energy
38 project siting and permitting, including potential federal funding
39 sources, and identifying state agency actions to improve coordination
p. 3 SSB 5380
1 across state, local, and federal processes or to pursue supportive
2 funding;
3 (c) Conducting outreach to parties with interests in clean energy
4 siting and permitting for ongoing input on how to improve state
5 agency processes and actions;
6 (d) Establishing work groups as needed to focus on specific
7 energy types such as solar, wind, battery storage, or emerging
8 technologies, or specific geographies for clean energy project
9 siting;
10 (e) The creation of advisory committees deemed necessary to
11 inform the development of items identified in (a) through (d) of this
12 subsection;
13 (f) Supporting the governor's office of Indian affairs in
14 creating and updating annually, or when requested by a federally
15 recognized Indian tribe, a list of contacts at federally recognized
16 Indian tribes, and tribal preferences regarding outreach about clean
17 energy project siting and permitting, such as outreach by developers
18 directly, by state government in the government-to-government
19 relationship, or both;
20 (g) Supporting the department of archaeology and historic
21 preservation, the governor's office of Indian affairs, the department
22 of commerce, and the energy facility site evaluation council in
23 developing and providing to clean energy project developers a
24 training on consultation and engagement processes for federally
25 recognized Indian tribes;
26 (h) Supporting the department of archaeology and historic
27 preservation in updating the statewide predictive archaeological
28 model to provide clean energy project developers information about
29 where archaeological resources are likely to be found and the
30 potential need for archaeological investigations; and
31 (i) Supporting and promptly providing information to the
32 department of ecology in support of the nonproject reviews required
33 under section 303 of this act.
34 (2) The coordinating council shall provide an annual report
35 beginning October 1, 2024, to the governor and the appropriate
36 committees of the legislature summarizing: Progress on efficient,
37 effective, and responsible siting and permitting of clean energy
38 projects; areas of additional work, including where clean energy
39 project siting and permitting outcomes are not broadly recognized as
40 efficient, effective, or responsible; resource needs; and any needed
p. 4 SSB 5380
1 policy changes to help achieve the deployment of clean energy
2 necessary to meet the state's statutory greenhouse gas emissions
3 limits, chapter 70A.45 RCW, and the clean energy transformation act
4 requirements, chapter 19.405 RCW, and to support achieving the state
5 energy strategy adopted by the department of commerce.
6 (3) The coordinating council shall:
7 (a) Advise the department of commerce in:
8 (i) Contracting with an external, independent third party to:
9 (A) Carry out an evaluation of state agency siting and permitting
10 processes for clean energy projects and related federal and state
11 regulatory requirements, including the energy facility site
12 evaluation council permitting process authorized in chapter 80.50
13 RCW;
14 (B) Identify successful models used in other states for the
15 siting and permitting of projects similar to clean energy projects,
16 including local and state government programs to prepare build ready
17 clean energy sites; and
18 (C) Develop recommendations for improving these processes,
19 including potential policy changes and funding, with the goal of more
20 efficient, effective siting of clean energy projects; and
21 (ii) Reporting on the evaluation and recommendations in (a)(i) of
22 this subsection to the governor and the legislature by July 1, 2024.
23 (b) Pursue development of a consolidated clean energy application
24 similar to the joint aquatic resources permit application for, at a
25 minimum, state permits needed for clean energy projects. The
26 department of ecology shall lead this effort and engage with federal
27 agencies and local governments to explore inclusion of federal and
28 local permit applications as part of the consolidated application.
29 The department may design a single consolidated application for
30 multiple clean energy project types, may design separate applications
31 for individual clean energy technologies, or may design an
32 application for related resources. The department of ecology shall
33 provide an update on its development of consolidated permit
34 applications for clean energy projects to the governor and
35 legislature by December 31, 2024. The consolidated permit application
36 process must be available, but not required, for clean energy
37 projects.
38 (c) Explore development of a consolidated permit for clean energy
39 projects. The department of ecology shall lead this effort and
40 explore options including a clean energy project permit that
p. 5 SSB 5380
1 consolidates department of ecology permits only, or that consolidates
2 permits from multiple state and local agencies. The permit structure
3 must identify criteria or conditions that must be met for projects to
4 use the consolidated permit. The department of ecology may analyze
5 criteria or conditions as part of a nonproject review under chapter
6 43.21C RCW. The department of ecology shall update the legislature on
7 its evaluation of consolidated permit options and make
8 recommendations by October 1, 2024.
9 PART 2
12 NEW SECTION. Sec. 201. DEFINITIONS. The definitions in this
13 section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly
14 requires otherwise.
15 (1) "Alternative energy resource" has the same meaning as defined
16 in RCW 80.50.020.
17 (2) "Alternative jet fuel" means a fuel made from nonpetroleum
18 sources that can be blended and used with conventional petroleum jet
19 fuels without the need to modify aircraft engines and existing fuel
20 distribution infrastructure and that meets the greenhouse gas
21 emissions reduction requirements that apply to biomass-derived fuels
22 as defined in RCW 70A.65.010. "Alternative jet fuel" includes jet
23 fuels derived from coprocessed feedstocks at a conventional petroleum
24 refinery.
25 (3) "Applicant" means a person applying to the department of
26 commerce for designation of a development project as a clean energy
27 project of statewide significance under this chapter.
28 (4)(a) "Associated facilities" means storage, transmission,
29 handling, or other related and supporting facilities connecting a
30 clean energy project with the existing energy supply, processing, or
31 distribution system including, but not limited to, battery energy
32 storage communications, controls, mobilizing or maintenance
33 equipment, instrumentation, and other types of ancillary storage and
34 transmission equipment, off-line storage or venting required for
35 efficient operation or safety of the transmission system and
36 overhead, and surface or subsurface lines of physical access for the
37 inspection, maintenance, and safe operations of the transmission
38 facility and new transmission lines constructed to operate at nominal
p. 6 SSB 5380
1 voltages of at least 115,000 volts to connect a clean energy project
2 to the northwest power grid.
3 (b) Common carrier railroads or motor vehicles are not associated
4 facilities.
5 (5) "Clean energy product manufacturing facility" means a
6 facility or a project at any facility that exclusively or primarily
7 manufactures the following products or components primarily used by
8 such products:
9 (a) Vehicles, vessels, and other modes of transportation that
10 emit no exhaust gas from the onboard source of power, other than
11 water vapor;
12 (b) Charging and fueling infrastructure for electric, hydrogen,
13 or other types of vehicles that emit no exhaust gas from the onboard
14 source of power, other than water vapor;
15 (c) Renewable or green electrolytic hydrogen, including preparing
16 renewable or green electrolytic hydrogen for distribution as an
17 energy carrier or manufacturing feedstock, or converting it to a
18 green hydrogen carrier;
19 (d) Equipment and products used to produce energy from
20 alternative energy resources;
21 (e) Equipment and products used to produce nonemitting electric
22 generation as defined in RCW 19.405.020;
23 (f) Equipment and products used at storage facilities;
24 (g) Equipment and products used to improve energy efficiency; and
25 (h) Semiconductors or semiconductor materials as defined in RCW
26 82.04.2404.
27 (6) "Clean energy project" means the following facilities
28 together with their associated facilities:
29 (a) Clean energy product manufacturing facilities;
30 (b) Electrical transmission facilities;
31 (c) Facilities to produce nonemitting electric generation or
32 electric generation from renewable resources, as defined in RCW
33 19.405.020, except for hydroelectric generation that includes new
34 diversions, new impoundments, new bypass reaches, or the expansion of
35 existing reservoirs constructed after May 7, 2019, unless the
36 diversions, bypass reaches, or reservoir expansions are necessary for
37 the operation of a pumped storage facility that: (i) Does not
38 conflict with existing state or federal fish recovery plans; and (ii)
39 complies with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations;
40 (d) Storage facilities;
p. 7 SSB 5380
1 (e) Facilities or projects at any facilities that exclusively or
2 primarily process biogenic feedstocks into biofuel as defined in RCW
3 80.50.020;
4 (f) Biomass energy facilities as defined in RCW 19.405.020; or
5 (g) Facilities or projects at any facilities that exclusively or
6 primarily process alternative jet fuel.
7 (7) "Electrical transmission facilities" has the same meaning as
8 defined in RCW 80.50.020, except excluding electrical transmission
9 facilities that primarily or solely serve facilities that generate
10 electricity from fossil fuels.
11 (8) "Fully coordinated permit process" means a comprehensive
12 coordinated permitting assistance approach supported by a written
13 agreement between the project proponent, the department of ecology,
14 and the participating agencies.
15 (9) "Fully coordinated project" means a clean energy project
16 subject to the fully coordinated permit process.
17 (10) "Green electrolytic hydrogen" has the same meaning as
18 defined in RCW 80.50.020.
19 (11) "Gree