Virginia Bills Advance Renewable Energy

April 09, 2009

Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine announced on March 31 that he had taken action on several energy bills as part of his Renew Virginia initiative to move the state "toward a more sustainable and energy efficient future."

The Virginia House and Senate have signed and the governor has approved the following legislation:

  • Increased renewable energy portfolio goal: Raises the renewable energy portfolio goal for investor-owned incumbent electric utilities to 15 percent by 2025. A participating utility that meets the goal is eligible for a performance incentive. (HB 1994)
  • Increased incentives for biofuels production: Adjustment to the biofuels incentive grant program to provide a greater incentive for biofuels produced from cellulosic, winter cover crop, and algae sources. Winter cover crops help reduce agricultural runoff, which helps reduce pollution in Chesapeake Bay. The bill also lowers the annual production requirement for grant eligibility to 1 million tons. (House bill [HB] 2001)
  • Solid waste-to-energy project qualification: Clarifies that solid waste management facilities that produce electricity from solid waste meet the definition of a qualified project under the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002. The goal is to use financial incentives to encourage more partnerships to create more solid waste-to-energy projects. In addition to generating energy, these facilities reduce the volume of waste put into landfills. (HB 2576)
  • Clean energy financing: Grants local governments the authority to create a clean energy financing program. The bill allows those governments to contract with landowners to install energy efficiency and clean energy improvements. The improvements would be paid for with water and sewer fees. (Senate bill [SB] 1212)
  • "Green roof" incentives: A group of bills that authorize local governments to grant incentives for construction of green roofs on private homes and businesses. Green roofs are roofing systems that generate reusable energy (typically solar), and/or that employ vegetative roofing and other stormwater control mechanisms, and which also meet state standards. (HB 1828, HB 1975, SB 1058)
  • Exclusion of farms from utility regulation: Provides that any farm that owns and operates facilities to generate electricity from waste-to-energy technology is excluded from regulation as a public utility. To be eligible for such designation, a farmer must obtain at least 51 percent of annual gross income from agricultural operations and produce the agricultural waste that is used in the generation of the electricity. (HB 2171)

For more information, see the governor's March 31 press release and the Renew Virginia Web site.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Virginia, see: