The 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act required the state’s utilities to move aggressively into the renewable energy arena. Virginia Business reports that “Virginia’s largest electric utilities [Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power] are deploying an array of technologies as they decarbonize, digitalize and decentralize their power grids to meet the state’s and their own clean energy goals.” An SCC hearing examiner will issue a decision on Appalachian Power’s proposals “pretty quickly.” The projected costs of the utilities’ plans are raising concerns.
With the Virginia General Assembly more than a week into its session, Republican Del. Tony Wilt said he’s hopeful divided government can yield legislative results and even some toned-down rhetoric. Wilt, who represents Harrisonburg in the House of Delegates, answered a range of questions in this in-depth Q and A.
If the list of The Citizen’s most-read stories of 2021 tells us anything about the last year, it’s that people were eager for information about the outdoors. Trails and trees were big attractions.
A proposed Botetourt County wind farm in missed a deadline in the approval process; the developer appealed that determination. Offshore wind (OSW) is coming to Virginia and the State Corporation Commission has opened a docket anticipating a “coming application from Dominion Energy Virginia for its massive offshore wind proposal”; a blogger discusses pros and cons. OSW is under review for the North Carolina coast; if built, some of the energy produced would be sold to the Virginia market. Area residents differ in their receptiveness to the prospect of large wind turbines offshore.
Virginia’s candidates for governor agree on at least one thing: transitioning to clean energy needs to happen. But that’s about the extent of the common ground between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin.
In local solar news, a Harrisonburg non-profit, Give Solar, has partnered with Habitat for Humanity affiliate to put solar on several newly constructed homes this year. The hope is to provide “a path to homeownership and sustainable energy” and to expand the model to other Habitat affiliates in the state.
Dominion has approval to continue operating the Surry nuclear plant for another 20 years. Google’s Loudoun County data center will be powered by carbon-free energy for 10 years. The EPA awarded Virginia’s DEQ $300,000 to convert “brownfields” into sites producing renewable energy. Southwest Virginia solar advocates are pleased at a new contract between Appalachian Power (ApCo) and several of its jurisdictional customers that will allow them to use Power Purchase Agreement arrangements to put solar on their schools and other facilities.
A Virginia energy policy expert describes whether and how the state can reach carbon-free electricity by 2035, while pointing out that Dominion and ApCo ratepayers face so-called renewable energy choices that don’t actually provide them such energy. The State Corporation Commission recently approved renewable energy plans put forward by the two large utilities to implement requirements of the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA).