VIRGINIA – On April 8, the Virginia legislature and Governor Kaine enacted several bills pertaining to net metering and interconnection:
HB 2155 retains system size caps for net metering but adds a clause to allow utilities to approve a higher capacity limit if they choose to do so. The bill also permits customers that are served on time-of-use tariffs to participate in net metering. Additionally, the bill specifies that customer-generators own the renewable energy certificates (REC’s) associated with their electrical generating facility. At the time that a customer enters into a power purchase agreement with the utility, the customer will have a one-time option to sell REC’s back to the utility. This provision does not preclude the customer and utility from voluntarily entering into an agreement for the sale and purchase of excess electricity or REC’s at any other time.
HB 2152 directs the State Corporation Commission to promulgate regulations that require the rates charged by an electric utility for stand-by service to customers with cogeneration facilities generating renewable power to vary according to the facility’s renewable source of energy. This bill also allows the utility to recover all of the costs related to the provision of the stand-by service.
HB 2172 allows renewable generators to cross over works of a public service corporation, if needed, in order to: (1) connect a renewable energy facility to the distribution grid, (2) distribute steam generated at a renewable energy facility, or (3) distribute landfill gas. The renewable generator must request joint use of the right-of-way from the public service corporation that owns the easement and offer to enter into an agreement that will specify the terms and conditions, including rental, under which the joint use will occur.
HB 2175 directs the Department of Environmental Quality to develop a permit for the construction and operation of small renewable energy projects that have a maximum capacity of 100 MW if they “generate electricity from sunlight, wind, or falling water, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power,” or 20 MW if they generate electricity from biomass, energy from waste, or municipal solid waste. A small renewable energy project for which such a permit by rule has been issued will be exempt from requirements that the SCC permit its construction and operation. However, the SCC will retain jurisdiction regarding use of rights-of-way and interconnection of these facilities.