The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A.

On September 16, 2019, Governor of Virginia, Ralph S. Northam (D), signed Executive Order Forty-Three, establishing statewide objectives for clean energy production expansion. The target goals outlined in the Executive Order include a 30 percent increase of electricity powered by renewable energy resources by 2030, and achieving 100 percent of energy by carbon-neutral resources by 2050. Directing the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to develop a plan of action to meet the renewable energy goals, the plan should address issues related to storage, energy efficiency, equity, and environmental justice. Governor Northam emphasizes in his Executive Order how advancements in clean energy can offer Virginia an opportunity to address inequities for Virginia’s vulnerable populations. DMME is advised to work in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Secretary of Natural Resources, and the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality to develop this plan. Governor Northam’s concerns related to this imperative issue clearly stand out in his Executive Order. The Executive Order was effective upon its signing.


 

On February 3, 2015, West Virginia repealed the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Act that was originally passed and adopted in 2009. This Act (the Standard) required utilities serving 30,000 residential customers or more to generate at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. To be in compliance with the Standard, utilities could use coal (e.g., advanced coal technologies and waste coal), natural gas, and fuel generated from burning tires as alternative energy sources. This broad definition of what constituted renewable and alternative energy made the Standard easy to comply with, and utilities did not have issues reaching the benchmark percentages that were outlined in the legislation. The Governor of West Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin (D), stated that the Standard was repealed because it was no longer economically beneficial for West Virginia.