Virginia farmers have a new way to generate a reliable stream of income for up to 25 years with the signing of HB 2303 and SB 1394 by Governor McAuliffe. The identical bills create an additional renewable generation option for farmers known as AgGEN (small agricultural generation tariff) and has the potential to increase income for Virginia farmers while allowing the Commonwealth to reap the benefits of expanded uses of renewable energy.
Virginia House Delegate Randy Minchew (R-Leesburg) was the patron of HB 2303, along with co-patrons, Del. Steve Landes (R-Weyers Cave), and Del. Joe Lindsey (D-Norfolk). Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) introduced SB 1394 with support from co-patron Sen. Jeremy McPike (D-Dale City).
Traditionally, Virginia has lagged behind other states in solar energy, but this year’s General Assembly actions may have been a harbinger of change in the Commonwealth. AgGEN, as well as SB 1393 (Electric Utilities; community solar pilot programs), SB 1395 (Permit by Rule Modifications, PBR), passed this session and proved that the solar industry, electric utilities and others – Appalachian Power, Dominion Energy, MD-DC-VA Solar Energy Industry Association, Powered By Facts, and Virginia’s Electric Cooperatives – can work together to move Virginia forward.
This is what AgGEN will do for Virginia, in a nutshell:
AgGEN has certain advantages over agricultural net metering (AgNEM). Under AgGEN, farmers may:
- Install larger facilities (up to 1.5 MW).
- Receive payment for more generation (up to 150% of annual usage).
- Receive payment for both the utility’s avoided cost of electricity plus the utility’s avoided cost of capacity.
- In certain utility areas, earn higher rates for power produced during peak demand periods.
The legislation also:
- Does not change AgNEM in Dominion and AEP territories.
- Does not change residential and nonresidential net metering.
- Sunsets AgNEM in Co-op territories on July 1, 2019, but grandfathers current Co-op AgNEM customers for 25 years.
- Caps the amount of land that may be used for generation (25% of the farm).
- Allows all types of renewable generation.
We encourage you to thank your legislators for showing how working across the aisle can create great new opportunities for Virginia residents and businesses. Specifically, Powered by Facts would like to thank Governor McAuliffe, Kathleen Murphy, and the members of the Senate and House committees who worked on AgGEN and SB 1393 & SB 1395.
A special thanks to Delegates Minchew, Landes and Lindsey, as well as Senators Wagner and Kilgore, for championing farmers and protecting our access to fresh, healthy, locally grown produce, meat and dairy products.
Here’s how you can reach the patrons of AgGEN, SB 1393 and SB 1395, with a call or a thank you note:
Del. Randy Minchew
P.O. Box 385
Leesburg, VA 20178
Del. Steve Landes
P.O. Box 12
Verona, VA 24482
Del. Joe Lindsey
505 East Plume Street Suite 105
Norfolk VA 23510
Sen. Frank Wagner
P.O. Box 68008
Virginia Beach, VA 23471
Sen. Jeremy McPike
P.O. Box 2819
Woodbridge, VA 22195
Adam P. Ebbin
P.O. Box 26415
Alexandria, Virginia 22313
Sen. Montgomery “Monty” Mason
District Office 120 Monticello Ave, Ste. 102,
Williamsburg VA 23185
Sen. Jennifer T. Wexton
20 W. Market Street
Leesburg, Virginia 20176