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:
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.”
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: