HB 129, the Solar Bill, Killed by You Know Who


    Our old friends at Dominion VA Power, Appalachian Power, and Virginia’s friendly power cooperatives were up to their old obstructionist antics again when one lobbyist from each of the three hulking dinosaurs effectively killed HB 129 (Electric Utilities; purchases from net metering sellers) until next session of the General Assembly. The main bone of contention/opposition on the part of Virginia’s Goliath power distributors was the “deregulatory” nature of HB 129. Playing to the Senate Labor and Commerce committee’s deepest fears, Dominion VA Power’s veteran lobbyist opined that HB 129 would have opened another Pandora’s Box of regulatory versus deregulatory struggles inside Virginia. Needless to say, had this primary argument not been made against allowing end users to use solar energy from energy suppliers not named Dominion VA Power, Appalachian Power, or one of Virginia’s power cooperatives, some other clever argument would have been made to derail the effort.

    The fact that Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City), a Republican, introduced HB 129 in the House of Delegates  shows how overwhelmingly commonsensical Virginia’s need for more solar power in general is. Even Senator Frank Wagner spoke up during the Labor and Commerce hearing on HB 129 to urge Virginia to finally move faster and more substantively towards solar power. You even heard the phrase “in the public interest” (Sen. John Edwards) when talking about HB 129 and the need for more renewable power in Virginia. Wow!  

    But Virginia’s mammoth power companies seem prepared to drive Virginia into a greenhouse gas world of hell before they use their substantial resources and power to get on board the clean energy bandwagon. So what’s going to change the minds of their CEO’s and the actions of their companies? It’s you, me, and everyone else in Virginia who wants to see a future powered by clean and renewable sources of energy demanding it, that’s what.

    If cancer patients push their chemotherapy off until next year, what happens? We as a society are pushing off our own form of chemotherapy in the form of renewable sources of energy. I guess we’ll know one day whether or not we have pushed off our chemotherapy for too long. But we have to keep trying no matter how bleak the diagnosis is.  

    A turn towards renewable energy is the moral thing to do, the socially responsible thing to do, and yes, the economically beneficial thing to do.

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