Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe yesterday signed a bill authorizing the expansion of the state’s Solar Energy Development Authority to include energy storage.
The legislation is part of a series of bills signed by McAuliffe that promote wind, solar and energy storage technologies.
SB 1258, introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin, expands the purpose of the new Solar Energy and Battery Storage Development Authority to include positioning the state as a leader in research, development, commercialization, manufacturing, and deployment of energy storage technology. The powers of the authority are expanded to include
- Promoting collaborative efforts among Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education in research, development, and commercialization efforts related to energy storage,
- Monitoring relevant developments nationally and globally,
- Identifying and working with the state’s industries and nonprofit partners.
In addition, the measure expands the size of the authority 11 to 15 members.
“Today, I am honored to sign these bills into law, furthering the great work we’re doing to support and promote the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said at the bill signing ceremony, according to the governor’s office. “It is clear that Virginia is moving in the right direction, especially with the recent announcement of record growth in our solar industry, but there is still work to do. Together, with our partners in the General Assembly and the private sector, I will continue to implement policies that bolster the entire clean energy industry in the Commonwealth.”
The governor’s office said that other bills pertaining to renewables that were signed by McAuliffe yesterday include:
- SB 1393, which creates a path for the development of community solar programs in the service territories of Appalachian Power Company (ApCo), Dominion, and the Electric Cooperatives. Each utility will develop its own territory-specific program that allows citizens and businesses the ability to “subscribe” to receive electricity generated by a small centrally-located solar generation system.
- SB 1394 and HB 2303, which are identical bills, create a Small Agricultural Generators Program — a new framework for the generation of renewable energy at agricultural facilities and how that energy can be sold to utilities.
- SB 1395 increases the allowable maximum size of renewable projects to be eligible to be permitted through the state’s Permit by Rule (PBR) process from 100 MW to 125 MW. These projects are exempt from environmental review and permitting by the State Corporation Commission. SB 1395 also exempts projects that are being built for use by a single customer of a utility from having to apply for and receive a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the SCC.