Klippert proposal would add hydropower to list of renewable energy sources

Legislation was introduced this week in Olympia that would recognize hydroelectric power as an eligible renewable resource, a designation supporters say would help reduce energy costs to consumers. House Bill 2101 was sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick.

“Hydropower is the most abundant and least expensive source of energy that's available in our region,” Klippert said. “There is no waste, it doesn't create hazardous bi-products, and electricity can be generated constantly, so it's much more reliable than wind or solar.”

Hydropower refers to the generation of electricity through the natural force of water, most often through a hydroelectric dam.

Klippert's proposal notes that the existing electrical grid is absorbing more power than it can handle due to high water flow through the region's dams, and an increase in the amount of alternative sources of energy. To maintain grid stability, there is concern that energy generation will have to be curtailed.

“In order for the existing hydroelectric system to support all the new sources of energy, the region will have to build additional infrastructure and transmission lines to integrate this alternative energy into the grid and ensure regional electrical stability,” he said. “Planning and construction could take five to 10 years, at considerable cost to consumers.”

Klippert noted the measure is aimed at recognizing hydroelectric power as a non-polluting energy resource, and not as a disincentive to developing other renewables. There is a caveat, he said.

“Other sources of energy such as wind and solar, are not cost competitive or as reliable as hydroelectric power, and should be the first curtailed when there is excess energy generation on the electrical grid,” he cautioned.

According to the Foundation for Water and Energy Education, up to 80 percent of the electricity in the Northwest is produced by hydropower each year. That's enough electricity to meet the needs of 13.6 million homes.

“Recognizing hydroelectric power as an eligible renewable resource would help stabilize energy prices for consumers, protect air and water, and make funds more available for construction of needed electrical grid infrastructure. Providing the most cost-effective sources of energy also would help  get Washington working again,” Klippert concluded.

House Bill 2101 was referred to the House Environment Committee.


For more information, contact: Bill Taylor, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7074


Washington State House Republican Communications