Rep. Gina Mosbrucker has introduced bills that would allow electric bikes on trails through state public lands and to provide for planning of future electrical demands to prevent brownouts and blackouts.
“We have thousands of miles of trails in Washington’s forests and state public lands in which the use of motorized vehicles are restricted. Electric-powered bikes were not a consideration when the laws were passed. They do not present a hazard to our trails and provide a new kind of recreation that expands the ability of our citizens to enjoy our public lands,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale.
The measure has been referred to the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
House Bill 1527 would seek to provide planning efforts to prevent electrical grid inadequacy and rolling blackouts, such as those experienced last year in California.
“Our regional electrical system is experiencing increased demands as more people transition to electric vehicles and other specialized technology requiring higher power quality. Yet, we are reducing the ability to generate baseline power through conventional means. Coal and gas-fired plants are being shut down. There’s a push by environmentalists to eliminate power-producing dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. No additional nuclear generation is being planned. All that remains for power generation are wind and solar, but those are intermittent sources,” said Mosbrucker.
“Several studies show the Pacific Northwest could experience a large energy capacity shortfall by 2030. Time is ticking away, and we’re doing little to prepare to meet the demands of the future,” said Mosbrucker. “This legislation would help us to meet those needs.”
Under the bill, the state Department of Commerce and the Utilities and Transportation Commission is directed to hold a yearly meeting with utility companies, regional planning organizations, transmission operators, and other stakeholders to discuss the short- and long-term adequacy of energy resources to serve the state’s electric needs. The bill also requires the 2021 meeting to address the risk of blackouts and inadequacy events like those experienced in California in 2020.
“We don’t want Washington to experience the same energy problems as California. To head that off, we need to begin planning now for additional generation to meet the demands of an electrical future,” added Mosbrucker.
The bill has been referred to the House Environment and Energy Committee.