I teach energy policy in George Mason University’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy. My students often ask why VA doesn’t have higher generation from solar & wind, and better energy efficiency rankings compared to some other states. We discuss federal, state and local priorities in economics, environment and energy security. Virginia's updated Energy Plan is an opportunity to reflect ways in which these priorities intersect with clean energy and efficiency goals.
Clean energy: I support the spirit of the goals DMME has set forth for solar and wind in VA, but I urge more ambitious goals. These can encourage large and small businesses, including IT firms and new energy businesses, to locate & operate in VA. They can grow jobs and provide energy system resilience while addressing environmental concerns. I suggest the following:
Energy efficiency: I also support DMME’s attention toenergy efficiency. VA rranked 29th in ACEEE’s (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy) 2017 state scorecard for energy efficiency. The Energy Plan should include concrete goals and policies on:
Energy storage: I further support DMME’s focus on energy storage in the Energy Plan. I encourage inclusion of concrete policies to enable energy storage to realize its vital role in VA’s energy security. The Energy Plan should provide a policy framework for energy storage technology that:
Models for these Energy Plan improvements exist at the local level in some of VA’s counties and cities. Other states’ plans also offer precedents. I hope that DMME will consider these models and incorporate them in an Energy Plan that can advance VA toward the economic, environmental, and energy security gains that can emerge from a supportive state-level environment for clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage.