Letter to Editor: Open power market to PPAs

Robin Blakeman penned a response to The (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch’s Sept. 22, 2019, editorial: “W.Va. budget must prepare for post-coal economy.”

Here’s an excerpt:

I agree with The Herald-Dispatch editorial board that West Virginia lawmakers and officials must prepare for the reality of a post-coal economy. We need to strengthen and diversify our state’s economy to make up for declining coal severance taxes and protect ourselves against the boom-bust price shocks of the oil and gas industry.

One solution is to incentivize renewable energy development in West Virginia.

Investing in renewable energy now will bring thousands of good new jobs to our state, boost entrepreneurship and local business development, and encourage corporate employers to locate and invest here. …

One simple step our elected officials can take to grow the state’s renewable energy sector is to legalize on-site power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy resources.

Read the full letter here. If you support PPAs, consider adding your comments to the letter.

Interested in writing an op/ed or letter to the editor? Let us know.

Op/Ed: An energy policy that can help small businesses

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Legalizing solar power purchase agreements is a "smart policy" that would give West Virginia businesses and nonprofits more choices to secure the future of our state’s economy, write Marten Jenkins of Natural Capital Investment Fund and Gat Caperton of Gat Creek/Caperton Furniture Works in an op/ed published in The (Beckley) Register-Herald.

Read the full op/ed here.

Weelunk article features plug for power purchase agreements

Great post on Weelunk about Wheeling residents who have gone solar. Community leader Mary Ellen Cassidy and her husband gave each other solar panels as an anniversary gift.

Cassidy soon became a solar advocate and believes third-party financing through power purchase agreements (PPAs) is critical to bring for on-site renewable energy to West Virginia’s nonprofits, churches, and schools.

PPAs are illegal in WV. What’s getting in the way of #PPAs4WV? Politics, Cassidy says.

Read the full post here.

West Virginians For Energy Freedom statement on legislative bailout for FirstEnergy

FirstEnergy continues to put West Virginia taxpayers on the hook for its failing business model. This B&O tax bailout was not the first, nor will it be the last, time FirstEnergy has asked for a government handout. When will these corporate giveaways end?

The 40-year-old Pleasants Power Station can no longer compete in a 21st-century energy marketplace. Over $12 million a year in avoided B&O tax payments falls far short of offsetting its future losses and remains a bad deal for West Virginians. Sadly, the State Legislature has capitulated to FirstEnergy's demands.

West Virginia needs to be looking forward, not propping up old power plants that can no longer compete on their own merits. West Virginians for Energy Freedom sees this for what it is: the latest in a series of rent-seeking behaviors from a bankrupt Ohio-based company.

About West Virginians For Energy Freedom

PHOTOS BY ROGER MAY  These people are some of the West Virginia residents who spoke out against FirstEnergy's bid for corporate welfare at the PSC's Public Hearings in Parkersburg, Martinsburg and Morgantown. More than 100 people spoke at the Public Comment Hearings. Of those, 71 opposed FirstEnergy's bailout attempt.

PHOTOS BY ROGER MAY
These people are some of the West Virginia residents who spoke out against FirstEnergy's bid for corporate welfare at the PSC's Public Hearings in Parkersburg, Martinsburg and Morgantown. More than 100 people spoke at the Public Comment Hearings. Of those, 71 opposed FirstEnergy's bailout attempt.

West Virginians For Energy Freedom is a coalition of your neighbors, organizations in your community, local businesses, municipalities and elected officials advocating for energy freedom in West Virginia.

Here's a summary of our advocacy for West Virginians and energy freedom during FirstEnergy's case before the Public Service Commission of West Virginia. More than 2,500 letters of protest and petitions against FirstEnergy were posted to the PSC docket. Only 51 letters of support were registered.

Our current campaign: Legalizing power purchase agreements for on-site renewable energy sources during the next full session of the legislature.

WVPB Report: Renewable Energy Outpaces Coal For First Time in the U.S.

Solar panels arriving in Fayette County. Photo by Colleen Laffey for West Virginia Public Radio.

Solar panels arriving in Fayette County. Photo by Colleen Laffey for West Virginia Public Radio.

Renewable energy recently generated more electricity than coal, and federal energy officials expect more of the same. Many states are poised to benefit from the surge in renewable energy, but not West Virginia.

Jamie Van Nostrand, a law professor and head of WVU Law Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, says West Virginia hasn’t kept up with policy changes, including Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

“All the other states are taking advantage of both the low electricity rates, and the jobs that go along with clean energy. …And we are totally missing that in West Virginia,” said Jamie Van Nostrand in an interview with West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Listen to the full West Virginia Public Broadcasting report by Brittany Patterson. Then take a few minute so email your lawmakers to keep PPAs on their radar for the next full session.

Opinion: Making the switch to clean energy (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Engineer Allan Tweddle cites several examples of why legalizing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) would be a “win” for West Virginia in an Op/Ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail (June 13, 2019). Here’s an excerpt:

With a PPA in place, homeowners, shopping centers, religious buildings and educational buildings could more rapidly be powered by roof- mounted solar power systems. The solar industry in West Virginia would grow faster, creating good-paying jobs for displaced coal miners.

Read the full Op/Ed here and leave a comment on the piece if you’re so inclined.

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The West Virginia legislature will get another chance in 2020 to legalize PPAs for on-site renewable and alternative energy generation facilities in West Virginia. It’s pro-business, pro-jobs and good for the average resident. Sign up below to get occasional updates on our plans for the next session.