Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Energy
Department of Energy
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8/14/18  2:09 pm
Commenter: Davin Hutchins (Climate Reality Project, Greenpeace, Tesla Ambassador)

Allowing renewable energy to flourish in Virginia

Dear Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and Governor Northam:

On behalf of the Climate Reality Project Northern Virginia chapter and a coalition of concerned citizens and environmentalists in Northern Virginia, who are all working together to stop additional buildout of fossil fuel pipeline infrastructure, we urge you to announce a comprehensive energy roadmap from the Governor’s office and exert greater influence on the Virginia Energy Plan moving forward.

We laud the DMME for putting a premium on wind, solar, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and offshore wind improvements for the 2018 plan. However, our global climate crisis mandates that we not pat ourselves on the back for improvements to weak state energy plans from the past but rather map out a bold vision for Virginia’s future that lowers energy costs to consumers, creates new valuable jobs, makes Virginia a leader in clean energy across the nation and secures our children’s future.

This year’s energy plan is a good first step but only a first step. We ask that all future plans strive to adhere to two broad principles:

  • Follow a specific roadmap or introduce legislation to get Virginia 100% renewable energy by 2050
  • Create an environment of competition for solar choice where community solar, residential solar and commercial solar can flourish in Virginia without arbitrary restrictions and impediments from Dominion Energy

Our coalition was successful in working with Democratic legislators during the 2018 session to putting these principles into specific bills, which largely all defeated in Republican dominated subcommittees. It is our intent to work with these legislators during the 2019 and 2020 sessions to pass legislation to:

  • Implement a mandatory renewable portfolio standard that carves out specific targets for wind and solar and 30% renewable energy by 2030 for all utilities
  • Eliminate arbitrary restrictions on net metering to allow for residential solar growth - no system cap size or standby charges
  • Mandate that consumer-focused Green Power programs run by utilities purchase renewable solar, wind or hydro energy produced in the state, not just RECs out of state which doesn’t bill capacity.
  • Mandate utilities pay customers the retail rate of 12 cents per mWh for excess credits at year’s end, not the avoided cost of 4 cents.
    Offer state tax credits for residential and business installation of wind or solar.
  • Introduce a  jobs creation package in renewable energy - can be modeled off of Solar Energy Jobs Act of 2013 (HF 773/SF680) (Minnesota)

I am a Tesla Solar customer and I have learned that Virginia simply does not have a framework to spawn mass adoption of residential solar, largely because Dominion Energy won’t allow it and our political system is compromised. Dominion needs to be challenged through some of the initiatives above and it needs to be regulated by state laws, influenced by citizens, not the utilities industry.

Currently, customer-owned  solar is lagging due to opposition from utilities like Dominion and their undue influence over energy policy in Virginia.  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.

That is why we need leadership from the Governor’s office to set the tone for a comprehensive “100% renewable energy by 2050” roadmap to work with both chambers and state regulatory bodies to put us on a path to a brighter future.

I thank you for your time. Please let us know how concerned citizens can support an increasingly bolder vision for Virginia.


Davin Hutchins

CommentID: 66087