Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing an energy plan intended to accelerate the development of a market for biofuels as well as to help households pay power bills and to put new resources into energy conservation.
The Governor is proposing funding the initiatives by using $25 million from the tax on higher energy bills and redirecting a substantial portion of existing funds.
Elements of the plan include:
New legislation setting a 2% minimum (B2) biodiesel blend with diesel fuel sold in-state. The minimum would take effect, and gradually increase, as the biodiesel market develops. Washington currently consumes about one billion gallons of diesel each year; a B2 mandate would require about 20 million gallons of pure biodiesel. Washington currently is producing about 2 million gallons of biodiesel per year.
Help finance essential infrastructure for the biofuels industry by investing $17.5 million in low-interest loans for bioenergy projects such as seed crushers.
Use the Utility and Transportation Commission penalty fund to boost the state’s existing program to help families pay high heating and lighting costs.
Provide financial help for low-income households, schools and public facilities.
Make more homes energy efficient.<
Improve opportunities for small renewable energy generation. Current law would be revised to give consumers incentive to develop more of their own renewable energy resources, and sell to utilities more of the energy they generate./ul>