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Tag Archive: Wind power

Solar and Wind Take Center Stage at the 2018 Virginia Energy Conference

wind turbines and solar arraysRenewable energy development, driven by rising corporate demand, was a central theme of Wednesday’s 2018 Virginia Energy Conference, hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Garret Bean, Vice President of Development for sPower and one of the keynote speakers at the conference, discussed his company’s proposed 500-megawatt facility in Spotsylvania County, which will serve corporate customers in Virginia. Microsoft announced that it will purchase 315 MW of energy from sPower’s 500 MW project as part of its sustainability goal of 60 percent renewable energy by early 2020. In addition to Microsoft, major global companies including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Walmart have joined together to commit to 100% renewable power as a part of the RE100 initiative.

In his keynote, Bean explained that rapid data center development in Virginia, sustaining 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic, coupled with customer demand for cloud services powered by clean energy sources, presents a significant opportunity for growth in Virginia’s renewable energy sector. However, with the growth of renewable energy, developers are facing siting, permitting, and interconnection challenges that will have to be overcome.

Delegate Terry Kilgore, Senator Frank Wagner, and Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler also discussed the opportunities and challenges of Virginia’s renewable energy industry. Senator Wagner voiced concerns about Virginia’s proposed regulations to link to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and participate in its regional greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. However, with the passage of SB 966 this session, paving the way for 5,000 megawatts of solar and wind energy in Virginia, and Governor Northam’s announcement that the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has posted a Request for Proposals for contracts to help strengthen Virginia’s offshore wind supply chain and service industry, the future for Virginia’s renewable energy industry is looking bright.

If you have questions about Virginia’s renewable energy industry, legislation, or regulatory structure, please contact one of GreeneHurlocker’s energy and regulatory lawyers.

Appalachian Power Receives Approval To Add 120 MW of New Wind Power

Detail of windmills on wind-farm wind farm with mountains and clouds

Appalachian Power Company (“APCo”), which provides electric service in western Virginia and southern West Virginia, has received regulatory approval in Virginia and West Virginia to add approximately 120 MW of wind energy to its generation portfolio. APCo sought approval from its regulators in both states to purchase the wind energy from NextEra Energy Resources, which will build the wind facility in Indiana.

The Bluff Point wind farm is expected to be online by 2018 and will help APCo meet its voluntary renewable portfolio standard goal in Virginia. APCo and Dominion Virginia Power both have a goal of using 15% renewable energy (based on each utility’s 2007 sales) by 2025.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (“SCC”) approved the Bluff Point wind contract following a settlement between APCo and the SCC’s Staff. The settlement was approved despite opposition from a group of large industrial customers of APCo. The industrial group objected to a proposal by APCo that will provide rate credits to commercial and residential customers during periods when wind power costs are less than prevailing market prices for energy. Under Virginia law, industrial customers are not allocated expenses that utilities incur to attain their renewable portfolio standard goals.  The Bluff Point PPA was also approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission following a settlement among the parties.

APCo’s president, Chris Beam, recently stated publicly that the utility expects to add new wind resources in southern West Virginia in the near future. Currently, APCo’s generation portfolio consists of about 60% coal resources. APCo will file its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan, describing the company’s planned investments in new renewable generation over the next 15 years, with the SCC on May 1.

If you have questions about this regulatory ruling or renewable energy development in Virginia or the mid-Atlantic, please contact one of our renewable energy lawyers.

Congress OKs Renewable Energy Tax Credit Extension

wind turbines and solar arraysIn exciting news for the renewable energy industry, last Friday Congress passed (and the President signed) the $1.15 trillion federal spending bill that continued tax credits for renewable energy development. We consider these credits a powerful and useful incentive to continue the country’s momentum toward less dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

In the solar space, full 30% credits will still be available for commercial and residential solar arrays through 2019. Beyond that, the credits will taper off to 2022, where they will settle at 10% for commercial development placed in service by December 31, 2023. With that legislation, we expect a boost of activity in this area.

Residential customers who lease their solar arrays won’t get the credit directly. Instead, it will be available to the company that finances the solar array. This may produce a hot market for leasing finance companies to partner with manufacturers and installers in the residential sector.

While the tax credits for wind projects won’t last as long, they will be available at 2.3 cents for each kilowatt-hour generated into 2016, then decline until they are gone in 2020. These credits technically expired at the end of the 2014 tax year, but now will apply to generation in this year and for the next five.

All in all, the new federal budget holds some really good news for the renewable energy industry, where many of our clients are making progress. If you have questions about the new budget or renewable energy development and legal issues, please contact one of our energy and utility lawyers. If you want to know more about how the tax credits may affect you, please consult your tax advisors.