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Rep Ramel bill clears obstacles for exploring thermal energy networks 

February 10. 2024 - The Washington House of Representatives took an important leap towards a transition to clean energy with the passage of House Bill 2131 yesterday. Introduced by Rep. Alex Ramel (D-Bellingham), this legislation expands the potential of thermal energy networks (TENs), an approach to heating and cooling buildings that can be many times more efficient than fossil fuel-based heating. 

TENs use underground pipes to share both thermal energy load and demand between buildings, leveraging renewable sources like geothermal or waste heat. This offers major benefits including drastically reduced emissions, unmatched efficiency, grid stability, and new job creation for the green economy. 

Because of this efficiency, TEN's lower energy costs for consumers, and utilize off-peak electricity and waste heat to minimize the need for grid expansion. 

House Bill 2131 empowers gas and electric utilities to own and operate TENs under regulatory oversight. It establishes a pilot program to test and refine the technology in different settings. Additionally, it allows gas companies to meet their service obligations through TENs, ensuring strategic deployment across communities. 

“This bill is a win for our environment, economy, and communities.” shared Rep. Ramel. “By engaging our energy utilities, we can rely on their existing experience, their skilled workforce, and recognize the value of those skills in the clean energy future.” 

House Bill 2131 advances to the Senate for further consideration. Click here  to learn more.