Heartland Institute Experts React to West Virginia Legislature’s Repeal of Renewable Power Mandates

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The West Virginia House today passed a bill that would repeal the state’s Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio by a vote of 95-4. The state Senate unanimously passed a similar bill earlier this week, and a unified bill will soon be sent to the desk of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D).

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James M. Taylor, Senior Fellow, Environment Policy, The Heartland Institute

Fortunately for electricity consumers and environmentalists, several other states are poised to follow West Virginia’s lead and will be considering similar legislation this year.

The West Virginia House today passed a bill that would repeal the state’s Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio by a vote of 95-4. The state Senate unanimously passed a similar bill earlier this week, and a unified bill will soon be sent to the desk of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D). If signed, the new law will mean the state no longer must generate at least 25 percent of its power from renewable sources – such as solar and wind – by 2025.

The following statements from energy and environment experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely(at)heartland(dot)org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“West Virginia policymakers recognized, in a bipartisan and overwhelming manner, that renewable power mandates drive up electricity costs, kill jobs, punish the economy, and inflict substantial unintentional harm on the environment. Fortunately for electricity consumers and environmentalists, several other states are poised to follow West Virginia’s lead and will be considering similar legislation this year.”

James M. Taylor
Senior fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute
jtaylor(at)heartland(dot)org

“West Virginia has become the latest state to rollback its renewable power mandates. These mandates have been driving up electricity prices for consumers and have had produced no tangible environmental benefits across the country. Now states are finally coming to their senses. I anticipate more states will follow the lead of Ohio and West Virginia by freezing or rolling back these costly mandates. This is not about choosing one source of energy over another, this is about allowing all sources of energy – from hydroelectric power, to solar power, to coal – to compete.”

John Nothdurft
Director of Government Relations
The Heartland Institute
jnothdurft(at)heartland(dot)org

“West Virginia has the third lowest electricity prices in the nation, only after Louisiana, a state with no portfolio mandate, and Washington, a leading producer of cheap, renewable hydroelectric power. Since West Virginia already produces more cheap energy than it consumes, it never made sense why alternative energy had to be force-fed into the market. Kudos to the Legislature for taking this productive first step toward a freer electricity market.

“Coal is the fastest growing fuel in the world, and there’s never been any clear economic signal why we need to rapidly use less of it in the U.S. while countries three times our size like China and India are using all the coal they can get. West Virginians should be wary of any politician claiming a supposed urgent need for policies mandating or subsidizing alternative or renewable energy resources.”

Taylor Smith
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
tsmith(at)heartland(dot)org

“With this act, West Virginia legislators corrected a grave error that has done little for the state’s environment but has left the state’s poor and those on fixed incomes shivering in the dark because of high electric prices.

“One can only hope other states follow West Virginia’s sensible lead. Renewable energy mandates are bad for people and bad for the environment.”

H. Sterling Burnett
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
hburnett(at)heartland(dot)org

The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.

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