The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping energy legislation Feb 11, 2020 that would overhaul how Virginia's utilities generate electricity
- Feb 14, 2020 12:51 pm GMT
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Virginia lawmakers pass major renewable energy legislation By SARAH RANKIN and ALAN SUDERMAN Associated Press, Feb 11, 2020
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping energy legislation Tuesday that would overhaul how Virginia's utilities generate electricity and, supporters say, move the state from the back of the pack to the forefront of renewable energy policy in the United States.
Critics, though, warned that the legislation, drafted privately by a group that included industry representatives and environmental advocates, strips state regulators of some oversight and leaves ratepayers on the hook for what could be excessive costs.
The measure, called the Clean Economy Act, lays out a plan to get Virginia to 100% renewable generation. The House version would demand that goal be met by 2045 and the Senate's version sets a deadline of 2050, in line with a goal Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam set in an executive order in September
Both the House and Senate versions would effectively block new fossil fuel generation facilities in the short term while state officials’ study whether a permanent ban should be enacted. The House version contains a provision that says if state officials determine by 2028 that the greenhouse gas reductions are not on target, then there will be a moratorium on the issuance of permits for new fossil fuel-fired generating facilities by 2030.
But critics are raising concerns about the price tag.
“In this century, we now have technologies to produce electricity that are clean and cheap,” Tom Hadwin, a former utility executive who does consulting work for Virginia environmental groups and reviewed the legislation, wrote in an email. “This bill encourages the ‘clean’ but loses the ‘cheap.'"
Attorney General Mark Herring's office has cautioned lawmakers that language in the bill expressly eliminates the State Corporation Commission's role in determining whether “enormous costs” of implementing its plans are reasonable and prudent and therefore can be passed along to customers.
“In our view the legislation will prevent the regulator from being able to work to accomplish the Commonwealth's clean energy goals in a manner consistent with ratepayer protections," Senior Assistant Attorney General Meade Browder told a Senate committee considering the bill.
This is a great piece of legislation – it guarantees that the cost of electrical energy in Virginia will triple, as it did in California and Germany (both are declared 100% renewables), before any corrective action could be taken.
It is exactly what President Reagan warned us: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”
I still challenging anyone to explain how could we have 100% renewable energy from the current technologies that are available +/-20% of the 8760 hrs/yr.
In Virginia the current holder of the office of Governor, is Democrat Ralph Northam. As the result of the state legislative elections on November 5, 2019, Democrats gained control of both the Virginia State Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates. Virginia became a Democratic state government trifecta.