Panel discusses bringing renewable energy to West Virginia

MONONGALIA COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) - During this public panel delegate Evan Hansen along with several representatives from local solar companies spoke about what the state needs to do to allow renewable energy to move into the state.

Hansen is planning on introducing a bill during the next legislative session that will help adapt state regulations and allow solar energy companies to re-purpose old coal mines.

The goal is to not only bring new companies into the state but also to help sustain existing businesses against rising electric costs.

"This would allow existing companies to have more stable electric rates into the future and keep those jobs in West Virginia," Hansen said "But it would also attract companies to West Virginia that have renewable energy goals,"

Hansen says there are a couple of obstacles keeping renewable energy from thriving in the state.

"There's two main barriers," said Hansen "One is that if a solar company came in to build a solar array they would be regulated as a utility, and that makes it impossible for a solar developer to build a solar array,"

Hansen says the monopoly of other energy companies also causes issues.

"The other problem is that the current utilities...Essentially have veto power over whether to allow them to connect up to the grid, this bill would address that as well,"

The bill will be introduced during the next legislative session on January 9th.