H. B. 3129
(By Delegates Manypenny, Doyle, Staggers,
Brown, Fleischauer, Talbott, Kominar
[Introduced February 15, 2011; referred to the
Committee on Government Organization then Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §24-2G-1 and §24-2G-2, all relating to the creation and implementation of a fund to encourage the development and use of renewable forms of energy and energy efficiency programs, projects and enterprises.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §24-2G-1 and §24-2G-2, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2G. WEST VIRGINIA ENERGY EXPANSION FUND.
(a) Beginning on August 31, 2011, the West Virginia Public Service Commission is hereby authorized to require a mandatory charge per kilowatt-hour on all electricity consumers of the state to support the development and promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The charge shall be $0.00035 per kilowatt-hour in each calendar year through calendar year 2016.
(b) The revenues generated by the mandatory charge shall be remitted to the Treasurer’s Office and deposited into the West Virginia Energy Expansion Trust Fund, hereinafter referred to as the "Fund". The public purpose of the Fund is to generate the maximum economic benefits over time from renewable energy and energy efficiency for the ratepayers of the state through a portfolio of initiatives and programs which advance and promote increased availability, use, and affordability of renewable energy and energy efficiency and that foster the formation, growth, expansion and retention of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures and their related enterprises, institutions, and projects to serve the state.
§24-2G-2. Creation and implementation of the Fund; Board of Directors.
(a) Creation of the Fund. There is hereby established a separate trust fund to be known as the West Virginia Energy Expansion Trust Fund. The Fund shall be held by the Treasurer’s Office in an account or accounts separate from other funds. All amounts credited to the Fund shall be held in trust and used solely for activities and expenditures consistent with the public purpose of the Fund as set forth in subsection (a), section one of this article.
(b) The Fund shall be administered by an independent nonprofit organization called the West Virginia Energy Expansion Trust, hereinafter referred to as the “Trust”. The Trust shall facilitate the development and implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, projects and enterprises.
(c) Public interests to be advanced through the Trust’s actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Development and increased use and affordability of renewable energy resources in the state;
(2) Stimulation of increased public and private sector investment in, and competitive advantage for, renewable energy and related enterprises, institutions, and projects in the state;
(3) Stimulation of entrepreneurial activities in these and related enterprises, institutions and projects;
(4) Protection of the economic health of the citizens of the state through mitigation of increased costs of electricity; and
(5) Delivery to state consumers of the benefits created by increased fuel and electricity supply diversity.
(d) In furtherance of these public purposes and interests, the
Trust may expend moneys from the Fund to make grants, contracts,
loans, equity investments, energy production credits, bill credits,
and rebates to customers, to provide financial or debt service
obligation assistance or to take any other actions, in such forms, under such terms and conditions, and pursuant to such selection procedures and criteria as the Trust deems appropriate and otherwise consistent with good business practices. Actions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Growth of the renewable energy-provider industry;
(2) Growth of the energy efficiency and retrofitting industry;
(3) Growth and recruitment of the renewable energy manufacturing sector;
(4) Use of renewable energy by electricity customers in the state;
(5) Reduction of energy costs to the consumer via energy efficiency measures and incentives;
(6) Public education and training regarding renewable energy and energy efficiency;
(7) Product and market development;
(8) Pilot and demonstration projects and other activities designed to increase the use and affordability of renewable energy resources by and for state consumers; and
(9) Provision of financing in support of the development and application of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies at all levels, including, but not limited to, commercialization activities.
The Trust shall generally employ a preference for competitive procurement. The Trust shall endeavor to leverage the full range of resources, expertise and participation of other state and federal agencies in the design and implementation of programs under this section.
(e) The Trust shall, in consultation with the Treasurer’s Office and an independent board of directors established pursuant to subsection (i) of this section, adopt a detailed strategic plan for the application of the Fund in support of the design, implementation, evaluation, and assessment of a renewable energy and energy efficiency program or programs for the state, subject to periodic revision, that ensures the Fund is employed to provide financial and nonfinancial resources to overcome barriers facing renewable energy and energy efficiency enterprises, markets, and projects consistent with the public purposes and interests set forth in this section. The plan shall specify proposed program designs and priorities. The Trust shall also develop an annual program plan and operating budget for review and approval by the
board. In developing these plans, the Trust is authorized to consult and utilize the services of other state agencies and such technical assistance as the Trust deems necessary or appropriate to the effective discharge of its responsibilities and duties relative to the Fund.
(f) Subject to the approval of the board and in consultation with the Treasurer’s Office, investment activity of moneys from the Fund may consist of the following:
(1) An equity fund to provide risk capital to renewable energy enterprises, institutions and projects;
(2) A revolving loan fund to provide loans to energy enterprises, manufacturers, institutions, projects, intermediaries and end-users;
(3) A dedicated rebate fund to incentivize cost-saving energy efficiency measures; and
(4) A market-growth assistance fund to be used to attract private capital to the equity and debt funds.
To implement these investment activities, the Trust is authorized to retain, through a bid process, a public or private sector investment fund manager or managers who shall have prior knowledge and experience in fund management and possess related skills in renewable energy and related technologies development, to direct the investment activity described herein and to seek other fund cosponsors to contribute public and private capital.
(g) For the purposes of expenditures from the Fund, renewable energy technologies eligible for assistance include the following: solar photovoltaic and solar thermal electric energy; wind energy; geothermal energy; fuel cells; landfill gas; waste-to-energy which is a component of conventional municipal solid waste plant technology; naturally flowing water and hydroelectric; low emission, advanced biomass power conversion technologies; anaerobic digesters, and storage and conversion technologies connected to qualifying generation projects using best available technologies. Such funds may also be used for appropriate joint energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
(h) The use by the Trust of monies to implement the provisions of this section is deemed to be an essential governmental function.
(i) The Governor, with the advise and consent of the Legislature, shall appoint a board of directors to assist and oversee the division in matters related to the Fund and in its management and implementation. The board shall include not more than fifteen individuals with experience in matters related to the general purpose and activities of the Fund and with the knowledge and experience in at least one of the following areas: Electricity generation and supply; economic, financial or investment consulting expertise relative to the Fund; development or commercialization of renewable energy resources; institutions of higher education; and renewable energy and energy efficiency issues. The board further shall include a member of the Treasurer’s Office, a member of the Public Service Commission and two members of the West Virginia Legislature.
(j) Beginning with the fiscal year ending in 2012, the board shall annually submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report detailing the expenditure and investment of monies from the Fund over the previous fiscal year and the ability of the Fund to meet the requirements and provisions of this section and any recommendations for improving the ability of the board, the Trust and the Fund to meet the requirements and provisions herein.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create and implement a fund to encourage the development and use of renewable forms of energy and energy efficiency programs, projects and enterprises.
This article is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.