Virginia residents, businesses and local governments are held back when they want to generate their own electricity. Regulations on clean, renewable power like solar and wind restrict energy independence, savings, jobs and economic development. Meanwhile the development of dirty, dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure continues.
To secure a healthy and sustainable clean energy future, the Virginia Energy plan should:
1) Facilitate reforms that enable localities to install more solar on government property and help residents and businesses invest in solar to create an atmosphere more friendly to development of this abundant resource.
2) Increase the electrification of our transportation sector by developing electric vehicle infrastructure and a clean, modern and accessible system that will complement distributed generation and storage, while improving air quality and public health.
3) Initiate an in-depth study of grid transformation to set the stage for developing a modern electric grid with more electric supplier options, increased security, customer-owned data and a more diverse mix of centralized and distributed generation.
4) Expand affirmative policies to require or incentivize greater levels of energy efficiency from our utilities but also in standards for things like new buildings, appliances and lighting. Tighten efficiency requirements in building codes and empower local governments to require greater energy efficiency in their jurisdictions.
5) 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. In particular, energy storage should be utilized to provide back-up for wind and solar power rather than fracked-gas peaker plants.
6) Set specific milestones and timelines for the construction of offshore wind turbines and development of our ports to support the offshore wind industry.
7) The 2018 Energy Plan should be developed with the lens that for too long, income inequality and racial and ethnic injustice have gone hand in hand with the development and implementation of energy projects, and that this should no longer be acceptable ion the Commonwealth.
Clean energy and energy efficiency can provide savings for taxpayers, help meet local sustainability goals, and support local jobs and economic development.
Virginians should have the right to create their own electricity and not be tied to dirty, dangerous energy sources. We are ready to reap the benefits of clean energy for all. I urge you to incorporate my suggestions for the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan and break down the barriers to clean energy in the Commonwealth.