McDonnell signs clean-energy legislation

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed eight pieces of new legislation today at a ceremony at the VCU School of Business to promote the clean and renewable energy industry in Virginia and to spur development of new pilot projects and technologies that will promote reliable and affordable energy for Virginia’s families, businesses and industry.

The legislation will further advance development of renewable energy sources through solar generation demonstration programs, expansion of distributed generation and by establishing additional incentives for individuals and companies to utilize clean and renewable energy.

“Virginia is blessed with abundant sources of wind, coal, and solar energy that the Commonwealth should put to good use to become the energy capital of the East Coast,” McDonnell said. “To achieve this goal, Virginia must take an ‘all of the above’ approach to developing wind, solar, nuclear, oil, natural gas, coal, and biomass energy sources that can create new jobs in the Commonwealth while moving Virginia and the nation closer to energy independence. These pieces of legislation will foster innovation and support expansion of our domestic power generation, conservation, efficiency and resources.”

Del. Albert Pollard, sponsor of HB2389, which allows the Virginia Resources Authority to support the development of renewable energy projects, added, “A penny saved is a penny earned. And, a kilowatt saved — or generated at home — is a kilowatt we don’t need to buy from the global markets. Hopefully, this bill is a small step to help spur localities to invest in the future, through grants, loans and credit enhancements,” Pollard said.

Sen. Frank Wagner, the patron of SB862, which adds provisions to the Commonwealth Energy Policy, also commented, “By safely expanding the use of renewable energy in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we can improve our environment, potentially reduce our energy costs and increase our national energy independence. We must create an atmosphere where the development of new, sustainable and environmentally sensitive energy projects can thrive and become profitable.”

Ken Hutcheson, president of the Virginia Alternative & Renewable Energy Association, said, “On behalf of the Virginia Alternative & Renewable Energy Association, we thank Governor McDonnell for his support for these important stepping stones to promote greater renewable energy development, manufacturing and use in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We look forward to working with Gov. McDonnell and his administration in the coming years to accelerate the growth of our industry and playing a vital role in meeting Virginia’s growing energy demand.”

The new laws will go into effect July 1, 2011.

Renewable Energy Bills Signed Today

HB1686 (Toscano) — Distributed solar generation demonstration programs
– Directs the SCC (State Corporation Commission) to consider approval of distributed solar generation facilities, constructed and operated by a utility, and special pricing of the power generated by those facilities
– Allows such projects to be treated as demonstration projects for purposes of assessing their benefits to the utility’s power distribution system for improving reliability
– Encourages participation by local governments, schools and not for profits in providing locations for these projects

HB1912 (Miller) — Commonwealth Energy Policy; SCC to consider effect of proposed facility on economic development
– Expressly includes “furtherance of the economic and job creation objectives of the Commonwealth,” among the factors the SCC must consider when they decide whether or not to approve a proposed electric generation facility
– And makes clear that the SCC must consider the rate impact of renewable resources before approving reliance on renewable resources

HB1983 (Kilgore) — Net energy metering program
– Increases the amount of electricity a homeowner or business can generate with its own installation from 10 kilowatts to 20 kilowatts, expanding the availability of distributed generation and encouraging installation of renewable projects.

HB2191 (Ebbin)/SB975 (Whipple) — Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund· Creates a Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund
– Requires utilities to provide a link to information about the Fund and to a web site where their customers can make donation to the fund
– Money donated to the fund will be made available as loans to support construction of solar energy projects

HB2316 (Byron)/SB1360 (Stosch) — Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant Program
– Creates a program that provides financial incentives to companies that manufacture or assemble equipment, systems, or products used to produce renewable or nuclear energy, or products used for energy conservation, storage, or grid efficiency purposes

HB2389 (Pollard) — Expands the Authority of the Virginia Resources Authority
Adds renewable energy projects to those which the Virginia Resources Authority may finance

SB862 (Wagner) — Commonwealth Energy Policy
– Ensures that if localities adopt local ordinances to address the siting of renewable energy facilities, that the ordinance will be consistent with provisions of the Commonwealth’s Energy Policy
– Provide reasonable criteria for siting renewable energy facilities

SB1236 (Ticer)—Clean Fuel Vehicle Job Creation Tax Credit
– Extends the sunset date of the tax credit from the 2011 taxable year to the 2014 taxable year

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