Brown measures on emerging technologies clear Senate energy committee

Four bills would recognize clean-power advantages of nuclear energy, make geothermal exploration and SMR manufacturing easier in Washington

Today the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee advanced a package of bills aimed at encouraging and expanding the use of emerging energy technologies – including geothermal exploration, nuclear power and small modular reactors. Sen. Sharon Brown, a member of the committee and the Legislature’s leading advocate for nuclear power, introduced the four measures, which are now one step closer to a vote of the full Senate.

“Washington state is in a competition not just for the jobs of today, but for the industries and jobs of tomorrow – and not just with other states, but with countries around the world,” said Brown. “It is vital that we think strategically about fostering innovation, exploring emerging technologies and preparing Washington to supply a workforce capable of filling the next generation of emerging energy jobs.”

After hearing testimony from the public – including some who traveled to Olympia for the annual Tri-Cities Day – the EET committee approved these bills:

  • Senate Bill 5467, which would include nuclear energy in the definition of a “qualified alternative energy resource”;
  • Senate Bill 5468, which would expand the state’s principles that guide development of its energy strategy to include nuclear energy;
  • Senate Bill 5475, which would provide a business-and-occupation tax incentive for the production of small nuclear reactors; and
  • Senate Bill 5470, which advances the development of renewable energy by improving the permitting process for geothermal resources exploration.

Brown called the bills crucial to creating a long-term environment conducive to both clean energy and economic development.

“I’m really pleased that my colleagues on the committee agree with me that nuclear power must be a substantial part of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, while still producing the energy and jobs that Washington needs,” said Brown.

“Meeting the economic, environmental and energy challenges faced by our families and employers will require a workforce trained in next-generation technology and a state regulatory and tax environment welcoming to these growing fields.”