West Virginians rise to support Power Purchase Agreements and set stage for future success

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West Virginia homeowners, businesses, municipalities, schools, and non-profits are eager to generate their own electricity and save money with renewable energy. Unfortunately, too few are able to do so because of the upfront cost. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are one solution to this problem. PPAs allow for third-party ownership of renewable and alternative energy generation projects such as solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, and combined heat and power (CHP) facilities. PPAs are not yet legal in West Virginia, but our state’s community of renewable energy supporters is working hard to change this.

Since launching a campaign to legalize PPAs in West Virginia less than six months ago, 39 organizations, municipalities, and businesses – from local to multinational – have formally joined the West Virginians for Energy Freedom coalition. Many more individual supporters and advocates stood up for energy freedom in the Mountain State by emailing, calling, or meeting in person with lawmakers to express their support for PPAs.

Thanks to these advocacy efforts by West Virginians for Energy Freedom and its affiliates, bipartisan groups of West Virginia lawmakers in both chambers introduced bills to legalize PPAs for on-site renewable and alternate energy generation facilities during the 2019 legislative session. While neither of these measures made it out of committee in time to move forward this year, it is rare for a bill to become law the first year it is introduced. So, let’s keep our chins up and start planning for success in 2020!

The progress we have made so far is thanks to every single one of you who took action on this issue. Special thanks are due to our dedicated team of mostly volunteer campaign leaders who continue to fight tirelessly for West Virginians’ energy rights. We are excited to continue this campaign, grow our coalition, engage new stakeholders, and bring the fight for energy freedom to lawmakers’ local districts during the legislative interim!

Be sure to sign up below for our mailing list to receive future campaign updates and action alerts. Thank you for supporting energy freedom in West Virginia!

Charleston Gazette-Mail Outlook: Solar developers see bright future

An article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s special Outlook section on Engineering & Energy (Feb. 17, 2019) featured an in-depth look at solar power and its growth in West Virginia. A section of the article focused on our campaign to support bills to make Power Purchase Agreements legal in West Virginia.

From the report:

Autumn Long of Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia said this is the first time a PPA bill has been introduced in the Legislature. “Everyone we’ve talked to, once they understand what this bill would do, is basically supportive of it. It appeals to both sides of the aisle, and gives the legislators an opportunity to come together and support something really positive.”

Read the full report here.

Letter to the Editor: Urge WV Legislature to support measures on environment (Gazette Opinion)

"Twenty-six states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland, have passed legislation to make power purchase agreements legal, thus enabling third-party financing/development of distributed energy systems using solar panels or landfill bio-gas, for example. In fact, we will have the opportunity to support PPAs here, when bipartisan legislation is introduced in the Legislature very soon, writes Holly Cloonan of Charleston in a Letter to the Editor in the Jan. 25 issue of the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Read the full letter.

Letter to the Editor: Lawmakers should legalize power agreements (Daily Mail Opinion)

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are one step that West Virginia lawmakers can take this session to encourage competition, growth, and development in our rapidly changing energy system, writes Tom Loehr, president of Collegiate Solar Energy, and Autumn Long, program director of Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia in a Letter to the Editor to the Daily Mail WV Opinion page of the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Jan. 15, 2019.

Read the full letter.

Charles Town mayor advocates for power purchase agreements

Solar Panels are installed on a Morgan County roof. Scott Rogers, Mayor of Charles Town, has come out in support of third-party power purchase agreements, and he is advocating for the 2019 state legislature to legalize their use. Journal file photo

Solar Panels are installed on a Morgan County roof. Scott Rogers, Mayor of Charles Town, has come out in support of third-party power purchase agreements, and he is advocating for the 2019 state legislature to legalize their use. Journal file photo

Jan. 15, 2019, The (Martinsburg) Journal

Calling them an “excellent opportunity for the state,” Scott Rogers, mayor of Charles Town, has come out in support of third-party power purchase agreements, and he is advocating for the 2019 state Legislature to legalize their use.

EnergyFreedomWV.org explains that PPAs allow a third-party developer to install, own and operate energy-generating equipment such as a windmill or solar panels on a customer’s property with the customer’s consent. The customer can then purchase the electric output at an agreed upon fixed rate for a predetermined period of time, usually 15-25 years.

Rogers said this system is a way to diversify state energy markets, and he said it would reduce the impact of what he calls “boom and bust” cycles associated with the current utility rates.

Read the full article.