McDonnell signs energy bills
The legislation continues Gov. McDonnell’s “all of the above” strategy for advancing development of Virginia’s energy resources. In signing this legislation and working with industry and stakeholder groups, this year’s energy agenda is the most comprehensive to date in the McDonnell administration.
“Virginia is the energy capital of the East Coast and we have a head start compared to other states,” McDonnell said. “We have sustained winds off of the Atlantic coast, bountiful coalfields in southwestern Virginia, rich natural gas deposits along with some of the top scientists and research institutions in the world. We must work with industry and stakeholder groups to continue to aggressively work to harness these energy resources to provide affordable and reliable energy to our families and businesses.
“This year’s legislative package strengthens and adds flexibility to the expansion of our energy infrastructure, which is a key component in attracting new economic development and jobs to the Commonwealth. It also supports the expansion of alternative energy resources and positions Virginia to lead in adoption and development of these important alternatives.
Bills Signed Today
HB559 (D. Marshall)/SB511 (Wagner) – Natural gas utilities; qualified projects
· Allows natural gas infrastructure expansion for the purpose of economic development projects where it is not already available
HB587 (Merricks)/SB418 (Stanley) – Electric transmission lines; approval process
· Improves the process for approval of a 138kv transmission line
HB232 (Cosgrove)/SB492 (Watkins) – Renewable energy; expands definition
· Encourages development of renewable thermal energy and includes landfill gas in the definition of renewable energy
HB1102 (Miller)/SB413 (Norment) – Renewable energy portfolio standard program; credits for investments
· Encourages research and development of renewable energy technologies
HB894 (RL Ware)/SB493 (Watkins) – Electric and natural gas utilities; energy efficiency programs
· Increases energy efficiency programs by requiring the SCC to consider all four cost benefit tests
HB1016 (Poindexter)/SB485 (McWaters) – Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Fund; established
· Creates the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Fund to assist in the conversion of the state fleet.
o Virginia is currently evaluating private-sector solicitants received to convert the state vehicle fleet to an alternative fuel, one of the first states in the nation to do so
HB1177 (Watson) – Virginia Energy Plan; adds to list of State’s energy objectives
· Updates the Virginia Energy Plan by including these objectives:
o Ensuring adequate energy supply and a Virginia-based production
o Minimizing the Commonwealth’s long-term exposure to volatility and increases in world energy prices through greater energy independence