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Washington Renewable Energy Standard

Date Last Updated8/15/2014
Policy TypePortfolio Standard
Policy Administrator/Contact OfficeWashington State Department of Commerce
Policy Initiation Date11/7/2006
Policy SummaryWashington's Renewable Energy Standard (RES) requires that all types of electric utilities that serve more than 25,000 customers in the state generate 15% of their electric load from new renewables by the year 2020 and to undertake all cost-effective energy conservation, including CHP. Of Washington's 62 utilities, 17 are considered qualifying utilities, representing about 84% of Washington's load. High-efficiency CHP, owned and used by a retail electric customer to meet its own needs may be counted toward conservation targets. Thermal energy from CHP is credited at a conversion of 3.413 Btus per kWh. One REC = 1 MWh. Distributed generation (DG), defined as a "generation facility or any integrated cluster of such facilities" with a capacity of <5 MW, may be counted as double the facility's electrical output if the utility owns the facility, has contracted for the distributed generation and the associated Renewable Energy Certificate (RECs), or has contracted to purchase only the associated RECs."

The RES starts at 3% of a utility's load for 2012 to 2015, increasing to 9% for 2016 to 2019, and 15% from 2020 forward. A utility's failure to meet the energy conservation or renewable energy targets will result in an administrative penalty of $50/MWh (adjusted annually for inflation) paid to the state of Washington.
CHP Eligibility RequirementsRenewably-fueled CHP systems are eligible under the RPS. Fossil-fueled CHP systems are eligible as a conservation measure. CHP facilities must have come online on or after March 31, 1999.
Eligible Project Size (MW)All sizes of CHP seeking credit under conservation targets are eligible. Renewably-fueled CHP must be <5 MW.
Minimum Efficiency Required/
Other Performance Requirements
High-efficiency CHP units must have a useful thermal output >33%. The regulations define "high-efficiency cogeneration" as "a cogeneration facility with a useful thermal output of no less than 33% of the total energy output, under normal operating conditions. Electrical output will be calculated as the kWh output of the facility over a period of time, converted to BTUs using the conversion factor of 3413 BTUs/kWh. Total energy output must be calculated by summing all useful energy outputs of the cogeneration facility over the same period of time expressed in BTU units."
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