Grid Modernization and Planning for a Clean Energy Future
A flexible grid with more energy supply and supplier options, more security, and a more diverse mix of centralized and distributed generation, can prepare Virginia and speed up our transition to a clean energy economy.
State energy policy should strengthen and modernize our grid in Virginia for a 100% clean energy future by 2030.
Distributed clean energy and microgrids in our communities will create a more secure and resilient grid in the face of extreme weather and the worsening impacts of climate change.
Distributed, Customer-Owned Solar
Expanding access to distributed, customer-owned solar will save money for taxpayers, create jobs and economic development, lower our carbon footprint, improve public health, and make our communities more resilient in the face of climate change and threats to the grid.
Currently, customer-owned solar is lagging due to opposition from utilities like Dominion and their undue influence over energy policy in Virginia.
Rooftops, parking lots, closed landfills, airports and other spaces can be put to work providing our communities with clean energy by removing the barriers to distributed, customer-owned solar.
Virginia is far behind other states in promoting energy efficiency. As a result we are wasting energy, paying higher utility bills, and suffering air, water, land and climate pollution.
Although energy efficiency is by far our cheapest energy resource, Virginia’s voluntary efficiency policies have proven to be ineffective.
Virginia needs affirmative policies to require or incentivize greater levels of energy efficiency from our utilities but also in standards for new buildings, appliances and lighting.
Advanced battery technology can take the form of battery packs small enough for residential and commercial customers, or arrays large enough to provide utilities with an alternative to new generating plants.
The value of customer-sited battery systems goes beyond being able to use solar energy at night; batteries can also provide grid services and help communities prepare for widespread power outages caused by storms or attacks on the grid.
Hot water heaters and batteries in electric vehicles can also be sources of energy and grid services.
Offshore wind has the potential to be the single largest source of clean energy in Virginia, allowing the Commonwealth to quickly meet carbon reduction goals, aggressively confront the climate crisis, and at the same time create thousands of new jobs and business opportunities.
The large Virginia commercial wind energy area leased to Dominion Energy is capable of producing over 2,000 megawatts of wind energy - enough to power over 500,000 homes. Leadership from the Governor can spur Dominion to speed up its development of this resource, which has been significantly lagging in the past.
Several East Coast governors have developed offshore wind master plans, sending strong signals to the offshore wind industry that their states are open and ready for business. Virginia must do similarly in order to compete, and develop an energy plan that specifically outlines milestones and timelines for both the construction of turbines off our coast and development of our ports to support the offshore wind industry.
Plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) are cleaner today than conventional cars, including emissions from the electricity used to power them. As we shift to 100% renewable sources of electricity, plug-in vehicles become 100% clean.
With transportation being the largest polluter of greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia, state policy should incentivize EV use and develop the infrastructure needed for large-scale adoption to reduce emissions and use them as storage to complement renewable energy use.
No More Fossil Fuels
Adopt a policy of opposition to new fossil fuel infrastructure, as it is not needed to support future energy needs and will further contribute to climate disruption.
Because methane, like carbon dioxide, is a hazardous pollutant and dangerous greenhouse gas and the primary component of fracked gas, Virginia should make a more concerted effort to limit methane emissions.
Until Virginia’s standards on hydraulic fracturing for gas are adequately strengthened to protect the public standards, a moratorium on fracking should be put in place.
Pipelines proposed through protected or hazardous regions where land and water quality standards are unable to be met should be rejected and Virginia’s laws should give no special rights to enter or take private lands without the owner's consent.