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RNP Press Release
April 3, 1998

Washington Governor Gary Locke signs law boosting clean, renewable sources of energy.

Olympia, WA - Renewable energy got a boost today when Washington Governor Gary Locke signed into law a bill requiring Washington utilities to off "net metering" to small-scale solar, wind, and hydroelectric systems.

 
"Net metering" allows customers who own small renewable energy systems to offset electricity purchases from their utility by running their meter backwards while the renewable sources are at work. At the end of each billing period, consumers pay for only the "net" energy purchased from the utility.
 
"This is a great day for everyone who believes that clean, renewable energy is important to our quality of life in the Northwest," said Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director of the Portland-based Renewable Northwest Project. "This legislation provides significant new incentives for utility customers to generate their own power using renewable energy.”
 
Proponents of the new law said that several utility customers already have expressed interest in net metering, and that they expect Washington’s first net metering system to be on-line by the end of the year.
 
"Washington's net metering law will make investing in renewable energy easier and more attractive for utility customers motivated by considerations such as environmental protection, climate change mitigation, or energy self-sufficiency," said Tom Starrs, a renewable energy consultant based on Vashon Island.
 
Beginning later this year, utilities will be required to off net metering to customers with home solar, wind or hydro systems of less than 25 kilowatts. Only systems meeting national standards for safety and power quality can qualify.
 
"Governor Locke and the legislature have shown foresight by establishing this incentive to boost the use of renewable sources of energy right here at home," said Sara Patton, Director of the NW Energy Coalition. "We hope that they will champion energy conservation and the restoration of our wild salmon in the same manner."
 
The Renewable Northwest Project is a regional advocacy organization promoting the implementation of solar, wind and geothermal resources in the Northwest.
 
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For more information contact:
Rachel Shimshak, Director
Renewable Northwest Project
503-223-4544
 
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