1. Definition of Solar technology. The Governor should request of the Attorney General’s office for an interpretation of the definition of a small renewable energy project in § 10.1-1197.5, and in other places in the code, relative to if batteries are included. The suggested interpretation is batteries should be part of a small renewable energy project to the extent that under Title 26 U.S. Code § 45, § 48 or § 25 the batteries qualify as qualified energy property. The IRS has ruled in Private Letter Ruling 201308005 that to the extent no more than 25% of the energy stored in the batteries comes from a source other than the renewable energy generation in question over a year, that the batteries are considered qualified energy property. An interpretation of the VA Code by the Attorney General’s office in the same manner would bring Virginia’s state permitting code into conformance with the federal tax code and would clarify how batteries should be permitted.
§ 10.1-1197.5. Definitions.
As used in this article, "small renewable energy project" means (i) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 150 megawatts that generates electricity only from sunlight or wind; (ii) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 100 megawatts that generates electricity only from falling water, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power; or (iii) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 20 megawatts that generates electricity only from biomass, energy from waste, or municipal solid waste.
2.Small Interconnection Process. The Governor should request the State Corporations Commission to open Administrative Code Title 20, Chapter 314 (20VAC5-314) in its entirety to a public comment period for the improvement of the regulations. The current interconnection queue governed by these regulations is currently not functioning in an efficient manner. One of the major problems that has arisen since the last revision that was not envisioned when the standard were approved is the significant amount of interactions and interdependencies between and among projects, which needs to be resolved. Some of the recommended changes, many of which come from similar regulations in North Carolina, are:
3. Permit By Rule. The Governor should open up the Permit by Rule regulations. There are numerous improvements which need to be made.
4. Transmission line Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). The Governor should advocate for a change § 56-265.2 such that transmission lines of any voltage which are less than 1000’ should not require a CPCN. The requirement that any transmission lines above 138KiloVolts requires a CPCN. For very short runs this should not be a requirement. Currently all new substations have to be in line with the existing transmission line or immediately adjacent. This severely limits the area which can be used, raising the cost of the solar facilities.