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.

Lack of PPAs cited in CBS News report on green jobs in West Virginia

On May 10, CBS News featured a 24-minute CBS News Orginials report on the fight for green jobs in West Virginia.

About 9 minutes into the report, Doyle Tenney of DT Solar cites Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) as a way to increase the use of renewables in West Virginia.

DT Solar is a member of West Virginians For Energy Freedom coalition.

Join our #PPAs4WV campaign today!

PPAs get a plug in report on WV’s need for more diverse energy generation

In a recent WV News analysis of West Virginia’s power generation, a state Office of Energy official said legalizing power purchase agreements (PPAs) would encourage more diversity, especially in the solar sector.

Coal remains West Virginia’s primary source of energy, but experts agree generation must change to be competitive with other states and to meet the growing number of corporations moving to using only renewables such as solar.

Kelly Bragg, energy development specialist with the West Virginia Office of Energy, believes third-party PPAs are one way WV could diversify its power generation sector and attract new electricity users and economic investment. Here’s an excerpt from the April 13 WV News story:

Kelly Bragg

Kelly Bragg

Although coal still dominates the state’s energy generation interest in renewable sources of energy are increasing, Bragg said.

“I think we’re moving in a diverse direction. There’s a lot of support for new projects,” she said.

The state is particularly lacking in utility-scale solar energy projects, Bragg said. “We are the only one of 11 states in the northeast region that does not have a single utility-scale solar project,” she said. “That is a number that I would certainly like to see changed.”

There are several steps the state could take to encourage more solar activity, Bragg said.

One is called a Third-Party Power Purchase Agreement, which makes it more attractive for property owners to install solar panels on their homes or commercial buildings, Bragg said.

“Basically it allows people to pay a smaller monthly fee for their solar system, as opposed to coming up with the full amount up front,” she said. “It’s a contractual relationship between the building owner and the solar installer which currently is not allowed here.”

Read the full WV News report by Charles Young and leave a comment to show your support for PPAs.

West Virginians For Energy Freedom made headway during the last legislative session with the introduction of two bills that would legalize PPAs for on-site renewable and alternative energy generation facilities. While the bills stalled in committee, our campaign demonstrates that West Virginia homeowners, businesses, municipalities, schools, and nonprofits are eager to generate their own electricity and save money with renewable energy.

Want to get involved in our #PPAs4WV campaign? Here are three ways:

  1. Sign up today to join us and get occasional updates on our efforts.

  2. Email your legislators and ask them to support PPAs and energy freedom.

  3. Encourage your city, town, company, business, church, school/university or nonprofit to join our coalition.

Opinion: Solar needs to be allowed to compete

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An Op/Ed in the Charleston Gazette/Mail (March 3) made the case for allowing power purchase agreements (PPAs) for on-site renewable and alternative energy generation facilities in West Virginia. Dan Conant, founder/CEO of Solar Holler, and Brandon Dennison, founder/CEO of Coalfield Development, co-wrote the piece. Solar Holler and Coalfield Development are among the 39 members of West Virginians For Energy Freedom’s coalition. Here’s an excerpt:

Distributed renewable energy resources like solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass offer increasingly affordable alternatives to the outdated model of centralized utility monopolies. More West Virginia families, businesses, communities and institutions could benefit from these affordable energy options — if our elected officials create a policy environment that encourages choice, competition and diversification within our evolving energy system. …

[Legalizing PPAs] is one tangible step our elected officials can take to make West Virginia a more competitive and attractive place to live and do business.

Read the full Op/Ed here and leave a comment to show your support. We want to keep the conversation going about PPAs .

While PPAs didn't make it out of committee this year, the West Virginia legislature will get another chance in 2020 to pass the pro-business, pro-jobs law. Sign up below to get occasional updates on our plans for the next session.