Pro-solar bills die as local authority rules Virginia – WVTF

1 minute, 50 seconds Read

Efforts to allow more solar panel placement across the Commonwealth failed to sway lawmakers this session. But their patrons, who sought to supersede local efforts to block solar projects, hope they got the conversation started.

“The counties; there is a thousand ways they can kill these projects,” said southwest Virginia Senator Travis Hackworth, who was one of the few Republicans supporters of a bill that would have limited local authority to deny solar projects.

“This just simply says they cannot say to a property owner in the county, ‘We’re not even looking at it,’” he added. “And most of that is generated by the Not In My Back Yard community.”

While the state’s 2020 Clean Economy Act demands an increase in solar across the Commonwealth, a growing movement in local governments is pushing back on such development. But Henrico County Senator Schuyler ‘s bill, as described by Hackworth, would block a locality from being able to issue blanket bans.

“I’m worried that if we don’t do the work we need to to get solar on the ground, we’re going to end up with more dirty energy,” VanValkenburg told Radio IQ.

But pushback was too strong, and the support for not meddling in local authority too organized. Among complainants was the Virginia Association of Counties, a lobbying group that aims to keep that local authority. They noted over 260 solar projects which may have been impacted by VanValkenburg’s bill had been approved, and that his effort was instead a solution in search of a problem.

Still, VanValkenberg wasn’t alone. Charlottesville Senator Creigh Deeds had a bill which would have empowered the Virginia’s State Corporation Commission to place solar projects even if a locality disagreed. He too pointed to the state’s Clean Economy Act as a mandate.

“We set a state policy where we’re going to be carbon free by 2045, 2050,” Deeds said. “My concern is we’ve got to get going right now.”

Deeds’ bill died earlier in the session. Vanvalkenburg’s was killed Wednesday morning. Both promised to return to address the issue next year.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts