As Virginia residents and taxpayers, we urge the Department to set the highest priority the inclusion of green energy into the grid. Solar energy and wind energy should no longer be considered an “alternate” form of energy. As the cleanest and the most democratic form of energy easily available to Virginians, solar is where a safer and more secure future lies.
Energy produced on the roof tops of homes and businesses, churches and schools across the Commonwealth certainly will minimize “ the Commonwealth's long-term exposure to volatility and increases in world energy prices through greater energy independence.”
In fact, the cost of generating energy from solar photovoltaic panels has fallen 73% since 2010. At the current cost of $.10 per kWh, solar is already below the intermittent cost of using fossil fuels, which varies between $.o5 and $.17 per kWh. Huge international investment in solar energy is further driving down costs so that by the year 2020, it will be consistently below the cost of any fossil fuel.
This cost savings added to the security of having many sources of power connected by an improved “smart grid” lowers the risks associated with our current reliance on large facilities located miles and miles away and connected to our homes by massive transmission lines which are vulnerable to disasters.
The utility companies shouldn’t worry about losing their business, since they will still be vital to devising and maintaining the connections - the grid - that makes this all possible. This will undoubtedly require as much ingenuity and skill as ever.
These benefits of lower costs and higher security are impressive, but considering the rapid increase in the disasters that accompany global warming, they pale in comparison to the advantages of switching over to clean sources of energy. We simply cannot afford to add more carbon to our atmosphere.