July 14, 2020

Volume X, Number 196

July 13, 2020

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Power Purchase Amendment? West Virginia House Bills Introduced with Hope of Spurring Power Purchase Agreements in Renewable Energy Development

As many states see a push for renewable energy opportunities for their customers located in (or scouting new locations in) their borders, West Virginia legislators are poised to decide whether the state will facilitate such development. On January 8, 2020, two House bills were introduced that could open the door to more renewable choices.

House Bill (“HB”) 2911 proposes to allow electric customers to invest in and install renewable and alternative energy sources on their property and ultimately enter into power purchase agreements. Currently, such arrangements are unavailable to individuals and third parties because of the risk of being classified as a “public utility” under West Virginia law. HB 2911 would amend the existing West Virginia Public Utility Commission (“WVPUC”) statute in order to exempt renewable developments on premises of a retail customer that are leased to the customer or that are subject to a power purchase agreement from the definition of “public utility” (removing the WVPUC’s jurisdiction).

HB 3072 seeks to, by way of an entirely new article in the WVPUC statute, allow third parties to enter into power purchase agreements but focuses on solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. HB 3072 details the benefits of allowing power purchase agreements for solar development in West Virginia but defers the specifics of implementation to the WVPUC for rulemaking.

Copyright 2020 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 17


About this Author

Travis Brannon, KL Gates Law Firm, Environmental Law Attorney

Mr. Brannon is an associate in the firm’s Pittsburgh office and focuses his practice on energy and commercial matters with an emphasis on energy litigation. Mr. Brannon represents energy production, midstream, and associated companies in multiple areas, including contract disputes, oil and gas leasing, royalty disputes, landowner class actions, real property advising, and environmental compliance. Also, Mr. Brannon has experience counseling energy clients on legislative and regulatory developments at both the state and federal level.

Mr. Brannon...

Katherine Gafner Energy Lawyer KL Gates

Ms. Gafner advises and advocates on behalf of energy clients with respect to numerous aspects of their business, including litigation, appellate matters, government enforcement, real estate, crisis management, and oil and gas transactions. Her litigation practice focuses on representing energy clients in a variety of sectors, including oil and gas, renewables, and mining, before federal and state trial and appellate courts as well as local governing bodies.

In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Gafner practices in the areas of investigations, enforcement, and white collar crime, advising companies subject to federal and state investigations across the United States. Ms. Gafner is experienced in performing internal investigations as well as defending clients against federal and state agencies.

As a member of the firm’s crisis management team, Ms. Gafner also counsels clients in crisis management events by providing on-site response and post-incident support.

Ms. Gafner is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.