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Governor announces actions to stimulate growth of renewable energy

virginiaGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced this week that the Commonwealth’s agencies will dramatically increase the use of renewable energy to power the state’s operations.  This initiative was announced as part of the formal release of the report compiled by the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission, and sets a renewable energy procurement target that will see state government derive approximately 8% of its electricity from solar energy within the next three years.

The Commission report includes a series of recommendations for the Governor to address the impacts of climate change on the Commonwealth.  The renewable energy procurement target calls for a diverse portfolio of solar projects to be built primarily on state-owned property, with state agencies utilizing the power generated to supplement existing electricity usage and reduce the Commonwealth’s carbon footprint.

Speaking about the announcement at an event in Richmond, Governor McAuliffe said, “I applaud the recommendations of the Commission that show my commitment to combating climate change and increasing renewable energy sources.  The renewable energy procurement target will lower the state’s carbon emissions and help grow the solar industry in Virginia, a key strategy for building a new Virginia economy.”

The initiative will facilitate the deployment and offtake of 110MW of solar generation through agreements with Dominion Virginia Power and independent, third-party developers.  In addition to implementing a recommendation of the Commission, this effort supports the energy policy strategy laid out in the Governor’s Virginia Energy Plan. His plan prioritizes accelerating the deployment of renewable energy, including building at least 15MW of solar on state property by the end of his administration and building a mature and thriving solar industry in Virginia.

“Diversification of our energy portfolio is good for the environment, it’s good for the economy, and it’s good for Virginians,” said Attorney General Mark R. Herring.  “The Governor and I have made it a priority to promote clean energy and Virginia state government is going to help lead the way by adding solar as an energy source. I’d like to thank Governor McAuliffe for his leadership and Dominion for its cooperation and partnership as we work towards expanding clean energy options throughout Virginia.”

“This important initiative will help grow jobs in the booming solar industry, a key sector for growing Virginia’s economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “The procurement target gives the Commonwealth a valuable tool to engage and partner with the private sector to catalyze the development of a mature and thriving solar market in Virginia.”

“Dominion agrees, solar generation is an important element of a low-carbon, balanced and diverse generation mix,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Resources Inc., the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power. “We are proud to partner with the Commonwealth in its pursuit of making Virginia a leader in clean energy technology.”

Projects will be developed through a combination of utility and private, third-party agreements and demonstrate installations ranging in size from utility-scale “solar farms” to small-scale “behind-the-meter” installations.  The initial phase will take place in Dominion Virginia Power’s service territory through a cooperative agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Dominion Virginia Power. The Secretary of Commerce and Trade will spearhead the initiative with the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy as the lead agency.

The full report of the Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission is available here.

augusta free press
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