As a proud citizen of the State of Virginia, I respectfully urge the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to consider the following when preparing the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan:
Climate Change is the single greatest threat humanity faces in the 21st Century.
In the interest of slowing down and mitigating the effects of climate change - a successful Virginia Energy Plan will call for decreasing Virginia’s carbon intensity to less than 100 gCO2eq/kWh and detail the steps necessary for such a reduction.
For every watt consumed, there is a fraction of an acre that is removed from nature. Stewardship means recognizing the impact of the entire supply chain and working to maximize the number of watts produced for each acre removed.
In the interest of preserving as much of Virginia’s countryside as possible - a successful Virginia Energy Plan will minimize the land that must be taken from nature to meet growing demand and identify and utilize those technologies which contribute the most watts per acre.
Traditional centralized energy infrastructure is among the most susceptible to cyberattacks. A successful Virginia Energy Plan will secure our energy economy against those who would seek to undermine it by moving towards a decentralized infrastructure.
Energy and economic policy are inextricably linked. An economy cannot grow sustainably if the associated energy demand is not met sustainably.
I’m currently employed by Sigora Solar, the largest provider of residential solar in Virginia. (Additionally, we provide energy efficiency services to each household we serve.) As a solar worker, I’m able to earn a good living wage and be financially independent. My work expands clean local energy in our communities and helps customers save money on their energy bills.
My job and the growth of our industry depends on fair market access and a level-playing field for customer-owned ‘rooftop’ solar. The Virginia Energy plan should expand job-creating incentives like net metering while eliminating arbitrary barriers that stifle job creation and hurt Virginia solar contractors, as well as other related businesses.
Sigora Solar employees directly and indirectly almost 150 Virginians. That is 150 Virginians paying taxes, spending money in our communities and participating in an industry that gets larger EVERY YEAR.
Policies like net metering are crucial to the growth of my company AND solar in Virginia. Arbitrary limits to net metering, the existence of standby charges for residential systems and residential system size limitations inhibit my company's economic success and viability and precludes our potential customers the opportunity to participate in the solar revolution in a meaningful capacity. Please expand AND enhance "rooftop" solar programs and energy efficiency programs for everyday Virginians. We will all benefit from a cleaner and healthier electric infrastructure system.
While net-metering allows our customers to get rid of their entire electric bill, that doesn’t mean their entire consumption is carbon-free. Stewardship means maintaining a carbon-free baseload to complement our growing solar infrastructure. To this end, I respectfully urge the Department to recommend that the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan include language recognizing the importance of nuclear energy as a carbon-free baseload. Trying to combat climate change without nuclear is like shooting yourself in the foot before running a marathon.
I respectfully urge you to expand and maintain rooftop solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, and all other carbon-free sources in Virginia to create well-paying jobs, build clean local energy in our communities and give consumers energy choice and freedom. We need more jobs, and these are the kind of jobs Virginia should support!
1222 Harris Street
Charlottesville, VA 22903
P.S. - Propane is not, in any sense of the word, renewable. That notion is only slightly more ridiculous than the idea that we can import all of Virginia’s electricity from a massive solar array in Arizona.