Klicker bill to boost renewable energy workforce takes first step toward becoming law

A new bill from Rep. Mark Klicker that would help increase and train the renewable energy workforce received a public hearing on Wednesday.

House Bill 1194 would establish a joint operating agency with the Clean and Renewable Energy Workforce training center (CREW center) and the Secure Power from American Resources Center (SPARC) to educate and train the workforce for energy transition.

“We have a great need to hire, train, and educate a clean energy workforce big enough to meet the expected levels of clean energy technologies,” said Klicker, R-Walla Walla. “We are leaning more and more on alternative forms of energy, such as nuclear, wind, and solar, which are needed to achieve a low emissions economy. We are going to need a capable workforce to match.”

House Bill 1194 would also repeal the sales and use tax exemption that currently exists for machinery and equipment used in generating electricity. It would also establish a state excise tax, and authorize a county excise tax, on solar or wind farms that generate five megawatts or more.

“It’s wonderful to have the companies there who produce the energy. However, people living where these alternative energy sites are located feel as though their communities are being ravaged,” said Klicker. “They aren’t nearly as happy as those living in urban areas who are receiving the power. So, let’s do something to give a little back to these communities. Allow them to train and educate their people to put them to work and benefit their local workforce and economy.”

The bill now waits for a vote from the House Postsecondary Education and Workforce Committee.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov