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Democrat WVA Governor Repeals State Renewable Energy Mandate

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The political tide is turning against state mandates for renewable energy.

On February 3rd, Democrat West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed legislation that repealed the West Virginia Alternative Renewable Energy Portfolio Act.

The repeal was the fist bill signed in the state’s 2015 regular legislative session.

The West Virginia renewable energy legislation signed by then Democrat Governor Joe Manchin in 2009 required electric utilities to get 25 percent of electricity from renewable or alternative sources of energy by 2025.

Under the law, small power producers such as rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and companies serving less than 30,000 customers were exempt. The bill included renewable energy targets over time – 10 percent by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020.

Governor Tomblin said in a press statement that the renewable energy mandate, “…is no longer beneficial” to the state and he noted the legislation had passed both legislative chambers with “… overwhelming bipartisan support.”

Rejection of state energy mandates is a positive step for West Virginia and the bipartisan support for the repeal effort is notable.

West Virginia is not the only state that is moving against a command and control energy policy.

Last year, Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich signed legislation that froze the state’s renewable energy and efficiency mandate for utilities.

A state law signed by Kasich in 2008 required utilities to adopt energy efficiency methods that result in 22 percent in electricity savings by 2025 and it also mandated utilities must obtain 25 percent of their electricity from renewables and alternative energy sources by the same year.

The new bill freezes the utility mandate for two years while a state commission studies the targets of the 2008 legislation.

Reversing energy mandates is great news for the free market and consumers but it’s a warning sign to green energy companies and their investors.

The financial success of wind and solar power companies is dependent on government action including forcing the use of their products through mandates and these companies also benefit from state and federal subsidies.

The shifting political winds in states such as Ohio and West Virginia is a reminder that the renewable and alternative energy business model is built on shaky and unsustainable ground.

Tom Borelli

Dr. Tom Borelli is a Newsmax TV contributor and radio commentator addressing political issues from a conservative grassroots perspective. As a columnist, he has written for The Washington Times and authored articles for Newsmax Magazine, Newsmax Insider and previously was a co-host with his wife Deneen Borelli on the SiriusXM Patriot channel. Dr. Borelli appeared on numerous television programs, including the highly ranked Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Hannity,” “The Kelly File," and "America’s News Headquarters." He has also appeared on Fox Business Network’s “Making Money with Charles Payne” and “After the Bell” as well as TheBlaze TV’s "The Glenn Beck Program" and "Dana!" Prior to working for public policy organizations, Dr. Borelli was a managing partner with the investment advisory firm of Action Fund Management, LLC and a portfolio manager for the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAF) where he used shareholder activism to challenge corporations that sought to profit from the growth of government. During his 25 years with the Altria Group, Inc., he built a foundation in public policy and issues management, drawing from diverse experiences ranging from basic research to corporate affairs. Dr. Borelli served as science fellow for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology during the 100th Congress. Dr. Borelli has also published scientific papers on interferon and human leukemia.

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