Tag Archives: 129

Updated: VA HB 129 Continued to 2013

After the House approved HB 129 unanimously, it looked like the bill was essentially a done deal.  But, last night the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor voted to continue VA HB 129 until 2013 and printed a substitute bill.  This is particularly strange considering that the Virginia House and Senate are both Republican controlled this year.

I am not sure why exactly the bill was delayed.  As far as I can tell the substitute bill is pretty similar to the original bill.  The substitute bill seems to make it more clear that a net metering seller (renewable provider like secure future) is not a public utility.  If anyone has insight on what happened yesterday please post in the comments or shoot me an email.

UPDATE: other websites are saying that Dominion and other energy company lobbyists are behind the delay.

JECEBlog coverage of HB 129
Bill History and Text

VA HB 129 Overwhelmingly Passes House, Awaiting Senate

Virginia House Bill 129 was overwhelmingly passed by the Virginia House on Feb. 6th, with 97 yeas and 0 nays. The Senate has referred the bill to the Committee on Commerce and Labor. We previously discussed HB 129 here, and will continue updating the progress of this bill.  Want to know more about how a bill becomes law here in the Commonwealth?  This is an excellent guide.

Virginia House Bill 129

Delegate Terry Kilgore has introduced a bill to the house that would encourage construction of renewable energy facilities in Virginia, like the solar installation we have here at Washington & Lee.  Secure Futures, the company that installed the W&L solar panels, received a cease and desist this summer from Dominion claiming that Dominion had exclusive rights to sell power to W&L based on Virginia regulations.

There is a bit of debate over the meaning of Virginia regulations allowing sales of renewable energy.  I believe this is the relevant statute:

individual retail customers of electric energy within the Commonwealth . . . shall be permitted:a. To purchase electric energy provided 100 percent from renewable energy from any supplier of electric energy licensed to sell retail electric energy within the Commonwealth. Va. Code Ann. § 56-577 (West).

The question is whether “100 percent” means that the power must be entirely generated from renewable sources, or whether all of W&L’s power needs must be supplied by renewable energy.  I read it as the former, but I haven’t done much research on the issue; Dominion claims that it is the latter, and that it would be a violation of the regulations for Secure Futures to sell W&L power.  Instead, Secure Futures has had to lease the facilities to W&L, so the University is generating its own power.

This creates problems for companies like Secure Futures, who depend on providing energy to receive federal tax benefits.  House Bill 129 would clear up the confusion by explicitly allowing companies like Secure Futures to sell energy generated by 100 percent renewable resources, regardless of whether the renewable energy alone was enough to fully fulfill the customer’s needs.

Links
2012 H.B. 129
VA PPA deemed illegal (Fierce Energy)
Staunton solar firm faced utility challenge (newsleader)