The House Labor and Commerce Committee has now seen (sort of) and passed out two major revisions to Virginia’s energy policies, promising a new clean energy economy and demanding that the two dominant electric power providers reach 100% renewable status in a few decades.
Delegate Richard Sullivan, D-Arlington, is patron of both House bills, which were were the product of furious private negotiations. His House Bill 1451 is the shorter (12 page) RPS bill and his House Bill 1526 goes into more detail on how Virginia’s energy economy will change. Buried deep in that 75-page bill are provisions on building offshore wind and a new income transfer program to subsidize the electricity bills of lower-income customers with other customers’ funds.
Let’s all start reading together. I certainly am not ready to comment. Here is Virginia Mercury’s take, which provides the headline talking points from proponents.
Unlike with some other major bills this year, these substitutes were available in print and online late yesterday. A tweet from the House GOP this morning complained about the members being handed the giant bills at the meeting, which didn’t even start until 5 p.m., and needing to vote almost immediately.
But this is largely what happened in 2018, when Dominion Energy Virginia kept tweaking Senate Bill 966 (The Ratepayer Bill Transformation Act) right up to the day of key votes. The environmental folks learned their tactics from the best. Even these will continue to change. They may change again before Senate versions are expected to be presented to the Senate Commerce and Labor committee in a rare Sunday afternoon meeting.
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