Bipartisan support seems to be gathering around the idea of authorizing purchase power agreements (PPAs) in West Virginia. A PPA would allow a solar installation, or other alternative generation project, to be built on a customer’s property and owned by a third-party. Power from the installation would be purchased by the customer at lower rates than power is available from traditional utilities. PPAs are authorized in many other states.
Bills authorizing PPAs have been introduced in both the Senate and the House. Sen. Charles Trump (Morgan) has introduced SB 30 in the Senate while Del. Barbara Fleischauer (Monongalia) has introduced HB 2249 in the House.
SB 30 is the more comprehensive of the two. It makes legislative findings supporting private ownership of alternative energy generating systems, and the desirability of not treating these owners as public utilities. It creates an exception to the definition of public utilities for companies owning renewable and alternative energy generation facilities located on the customer’s property and designed to meet the customer’s electrical needs that are (1) leased to the customer, or (2) the power from which is sold to the customer through a power-purchase agreement.
SB 30 was introduced on February 10, 2021, the opening day of the Legislature, and was referred to the Economic Development Committee. HB 2249 was introduced in the House on February 10 and referred to the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee. Conservation West Virginia supports both bills.