Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Washington Production Incentives for Hydrokinetic Power

Under HB 2869 canals in Washington State could generate renewable energy from Hydrovolts turbines with a capital payback of less than 2 years

Representative John McCoy, Chair of the Washington House Technology, Energy & Communications (TEC) Committee has introduced HB 2869 [pdf], to provide "an investment cost recovery incentive for hydrokinetic energy." Similar incentives are currently only available for electricity generation from solar and wind.

The bill would amend the language of RCW 82.16.110-120 to add a hydrokinetic energy system manufactured in Washington State to the list of sources of "customer-generated electricity" that qualify for the incentive program. According to the bill, a "hydrokinetic energy system" means
a device that generates electricity from waves or directly from the flow of water in ocean currents, tides, inland waterways, nonfish-bearing canals, or irrigation districts, that does not require the impoundment or diversion of water. [emphasis added]
The proposed hydrokinetic incentives are $0.15/kWh for hydrokinetic energy systems, and increasing to $0.36/kWh if manufactured in Washington State. Since the maximum benefit per installing customer is $5,000 per year; the impact on utilities will be relatively minor for several years at least.

The benefit to customers would be significant, accelerating the typical capital payback period from a Hydrovolts turbine from 4 years to less than 2.

These incentives would be available until June 30, 2020, the same as from other sources, unless extended.

The bill has been referred to the TEC Committee, and a public hearing is scheduled for January 27. The legislature in Olympia has an extremely heavy lift ahead of it to bridge a multi-billion dollar budget gap, which means many other worthy bills will struggle for attention. This bill is one that merits consideration and enactment, since its budget cost is de minimus and the benefits in stimulating clean technology, sustainability and job creation are compelling.

Please contact your state legislators and urge support for this worthy legislation, and forward this message to other supporters of renewable energy and ask for their support as well.

UPDATE: fixed wacky formatting issues
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