Washington: Washington House Bill 1416 signed into law to regulate emissions tied to crypto mining and data centers

May 09, 2023 | Posted by MadalineDunn

In Washington, House Bill 1416, a Bill set on regulating carbon emissions tied to crypto mining and data centers has been signed into law. Signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on May 3, the legislation closed a loophole in the previously passed Clean Energy Transformation Act, which enabled crypto mining operations to sidestep regulation and purchase non-renewable sources when hydroelectric-powered local utilities couldn't meet demand. 

H.B. 1416 stipulates that non-residential users of customer-owned utilities must also adhere to the state's clean electricity purchasing requirements. Prior to the bill being signed into law, projects, such as the Bitmain crypto mining project, had slipped through the net. Due to their high energy demands, the public utility district had to purchase additional power from the Mid Columbia hub, a regional wholesale electricity market. This meant there was a lack of certification that renewables were fueling operations, and non-compliant power was purchased. 

According to Glenn Blackmon, a manager of the energy policy office at the Washington Department of Commerce, the importance of H.B. 1416 was realized following the passing of the clean energy legislation.

"We've seen in the last couple of years an increasing interest in large new uses of electricity for things like hydrogen production, data centers [and] crypto mining operations, and we realized that if any of those were located in areas served by consumer-owned utilities, the clean energy law wouldn't apply to them," he said.

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