Governor Youngkin signs bills by both Delegate Bloxom and Senator Lewis

May 17, 2023
Delegate Rob Bloxom Senator Lynwood LEwis

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed two bills sponsored by Eastern Shore legislators Friday.

“I was pleased that the General Assembly approved nearly all my recommendations during the Reconvene Session. While I am disappointed my recommendations to reduce the cost of the offshore wind project on electric bills and provide protections for minors on social media were rejected, I’m committed to pursuing these issues next year,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I greatly appreciate the General Assembly’s hard work, but certain recommendations were necessary for effective implementation, and therefore, I have vetoed them. The legislative work is not complete, I strongly urge the Senate Democrats to work with me to pass a budget that provides $1 billion in tax relief for Virginians and delivers over $2.6 billion for job growth, public safety, education excellence, and behavioral health services.”

The Governor signed a bill sponsored by Delegate Rob Bloxom that will affect the offshore wind industry. 

Bloxom’s bill requires the State Corporation Commission, in conducting its review of requests for cost recovery by a Phase II Utility for costs associated with generating facilities utilizing energy derived from offshore wind, to give due consideration to the economic development benefits of the project for the Commonwealth, including capital investments and job creation, arising from project construction and operation and the manufacture of wind turbine generator components and subcomponents. The bill also accelerates the timeline from 2034 to 2032 for public utilities to construct or purchase one or more offshore wind generation facilities located off the Commonwealth’s Atlantic shoreline or in federal waters and interconnected directly into the Commonwealth.

Youngkin also signed a bill submitted by Senator Lynwood Lewis. The bill  removes the renewable energy requirement for each Phase I and Phase II Utility to retire all biomass-fired electric generating units that do not co-fire with coal by December 31, 2028. The bill provides that biomass-fired facilities may qualify as renewable energy standard eligible sources, provided that they are in operation as of January 1, 2023, and (i) supply no more than 10 percent of their annual net electrical generation to the electric grid or no more than 15 percent of their annual total useful energy to any entity other than the manufacturing facility to which the generating source is interconnected and are fueled by forest-product manufacturing materials harvested in accordance with best management practices or (ii) are owned by a Phase I or Phase II Utility, have less than 52 megawatts capacity, and are fueled by forest-product manufacturing residuals, biowastes, or biomass harvested in accordance with best management practices. The bill directs the Department of Forestry to convene an advisory panel to examine the use of forest-related materials, agricultural-related materials, and solid woody waste materials for biomass-fired electric generating units in the Commonwealth and to submit a report of the advisory panel’s findings and any recommendations to the House Committee on Commerce and Energy and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor no later than December 1, 2024. The bill further directs the Department of Forestry to develop by December 1, 2023, best management practices for the sustainable harvesting of biomass for biomass-fired electric generating units that are subject to the provisions of the bill. This bill is identical to HB 2026.

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