The 2016 Virginia legislative session begins tomorrow, and, as you know from visiting us here at Powered by Facts, I have been urging Virginia lawmakers and their constituents to consider much-needed changes to the way the Commonwealth of Virginia approaches renewable energy, along with their other priorities, this session. The time is now to change the perspective on Virginia renewable energy.
I am excited to say that things are heading in the right direction, as two bills have already been introduced for consideration this session.
The first is HB 444 and is sponsored by Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi, who represents House District 68. The bill is designed to amend Virginia Code §56-245.1:2 and will require investor-owned electric utilities in the Commonwealth to notify customers every quarter about how they can purchase renewable energy from the utility or any supplier of electric energy licensed to sell electric energy within the applicable service territory.
A second bill, HB 480, is sponsored by Delegate Richard C. “Rip” Sullivan, Jr., who represents House District 48. This bill establishes a renewable energy property tax credit that would equal 35 percent of the installed cost of the renewable energy property and establishes the aggregate amount of credit allowed to each person for placing into service renewable energy property during the taxable year.
Show your support of Delegates Loupassi and Sullivan by reaching out to them and encouraging them to take even more steps toward incentivizing power generation that is cheaper, safer and more reliable for Virginia rate payers. And, tell your Delegate and Senator that you will be following their support of these bills.
Please also take a moment to contact the Commerce and Labor Committee of the Virginia Senate to let them know you support clean, renewable energy for the Commonwealth.
There is much more that can and should happen, including allowing individuals and companies in Virginia to produce their own power and sell it back to utilities within our state for use in our state. If this were the case, then:
- Ratepayers will not bear the cost of the equipment needed to generate power, and the long-term cost to the rate payer is cheaper than if the utility built and maintained conventional fossil fuel generation. Frankly, it also is cheaper than if the utility built its own solar or wind facilities in many cases because, yet again, the ratepayer is not forced to pay the cost of the equipment;
- Virginia farmers could create an additional reliable income stream for 25 years from land that may not be well-suited to growing crops; and
- Ratepayers will not have to bear the fluctuating costs of fossil fuels and the increasing maintenance and operational costs for aging fossil fuel plants.
Remember, one person can make a difference. Please take the time to contact your State of Virginia Senator or Delegate to let him or her know that you want access to more options for energy in our state.
In the coming weeks, I will share updates on any other new proposed legislation being considered this session, sample letters you can use to send to your representatives and more about the energy mix in Virginia.
Thanks for your interest in renewable energy in Virginia and your support of Powered by Facts!