The West Virginia House today passed a bill that would repeal the state’s Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio by a vote of 95-4. The state Senate unanimously passed a similar bill earlier this week, and a unified bill will soon be sent to the desk of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D). If signed, the new law will mean the state no longer must generate at least 25 percent of its power from renewable sources – such as solar and wind – by 2025.
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“West Virginia policymakers recognized, in a bipartisan and overwhelming manner, that renewable power mandates drive up electricity costs, kill jobs, punish the economy, and inflict substantial unintentional harm on the environment. Fortunately for electricity consumers and environmentalists, several other states are poised to follow West Virginia’s lead and will be considering similar legislation this year.”
“West Virginia has become the latest state to rollback its renewable power mandates. These mandates have been driving up electricity prices for consumers and have had produced no tangible environmental benefits across the country. Now states are finally coming to their senses. I anticipate more states will follow the lead of Ohio and West Virginia by freezing or rolling back these costly mandates. This is not about choosing one source of energy over another, this is about allowing all sources of energy – from hydroelectric power, to solar power, to coal – to compete.”
“West Virginia has the third lowest electricity prices in the nation, only after Louisiana, a state with no portfolio mandate, and Washington, a leading producer of cheap, renewable hydroelectric power. Since West Virginia already produces more cheap energy than it consumes, it never made sense why alternative energy had to be force-fed into the market. Kudos to the Legislature for taking this productive first step toward a freer electricity market.
Coal is the fastest growing fuel in the world, and there’s never been any clear economic signal why we need to rapidly use less of it in the U.S. while countries three times our size like China and India are using all the coal they can get. West Virginians should be wary of any politician claiming a supposed urgent need for policies mandating or subsidizing alternative or renewable energy resources.
“With this act, West Virginia legislators corrected a grave error that has done little for the state’s environment but has left the state’s poor and those on fixed incomes shivering in the dark because of high electric prices.
“One can only hope other states follow West Virginia’s sensible lead. Renewable energy mandates are bad for people and bad for the environment.”
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