Monday, February 25, 2013

Governor signs repeal of renewable energy incentives

By Kathy Adams
The Virginian-Pilot
© February 22, 2013

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation Thursday repealing certain financial incentives for electric utility companies that use renewable energy sources.

The change means utilities, such as Dominion Virginia Power, will no longer be eligible for a bonus for obtaining a certain portion of their energy from renewable sources, such as solar power. Reduced incentives remain for nuclear and offshore wind power.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli proposed repealing the "adders" after a study showed they were increasing consumers' bills without having the intended environmental impact.

Opponents of the repeal, mostly environmental groups such as the Virginia Chapter Sierra Club, argued the law needed to be changed, not done away with altogether.

Dominion still plans to meet the goals of the program, even without the financial incentive from the state, and is pursuing projects to that end, said spokesman Jim Norvelle.

"We are looking for ways to get onshore wind generation, and we are launching a pilot program to add a large amount of solar-generated electricity to our grid that will begin this year as well," he said.

Also under consideration is an offshore wind farm for Virginia Beach and an expansion of Dominon's nuclear facility in Louisa County, Norvelle said.