James City County has made energy efficiency a priority for more than a decade through the implementation of energy efficient lighting, tightening our buildings, passing an Administrative Regulation outlining energy conservation expectations for staff and building operators, becoming an Energy Star Partner, and carefully tracking energy usage in order to address anomalies as budgets allow. While we are doing everything we can in local government to reduce our carbon footprint and save tax dollars, we are unable to expand and promote programs in the areas of residential and commercial energy efficiency, renewable energy, and additional greenhouse gas reductions measures without better defined expectations and facilitation from the Commonwealth. Specifically, we would like to see the following areas further developed in the 2018 VA Energy Plan:
1. Energy efficiency is the best “first fuel” for energy usage reductions and therefore state-level programs incentivizing energy efficiency should be the priority
2. Expansion of weatherization programs and other energy-efficiency initiatives
3. Focus on grid modernization and programs that incentivize load leveling to reduce energy usage statewide
4. Establish a new funding mechanism for the Virginia SAVES program via tax credits or a rebate program to maximize savings in the residential and commercial sectors
5. Provide performance incentives to utilities to encourage more robust energy efficiency programs in the future.
1. Include all energy sources in the 10% energy reduction goal including natural gas, propane, fuel oil, gasoline, etc… (not just electricity)
2. Issue an Executive Order to reinstate the 15% energy reduction goal for public buildings and include clear guidelines for benchmarking energy savings data
3. Permanently adopt the Energy Data Warehouse program to track energy consumption at state facilities and expand the scope to include energy usage at all state-owned and leased buildings. In addition, make the data publicly available.
4. Provide adequate staff to effectively manage the Energy Data Warehouse software
5. Open the Energy Data Warehouse to local governments that are already benchmarking their public buildings to help establish a common methodology among state and local governments.
1. Set mandatory renewable portfolio standards for the regulated utilities
2. Incentivize solar projects and promote it publicly to educate citizens on resiliency and the importance of growing our renewable portfolio
3. Create programs that incentivize solar installations - the public interest in great, but the public education on the ROI and accessibility is minimal
1. Policy support to incentivize net-zero construction for new residential and commercial buildings
2. Significant expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
1. Expand the VA Energy Sense program
2. Provide specific recommendations on energy education regarding building codes and energy efficiency targets
3. Local governments have unique access and contact with our residents and therefore an important role to play in delivering state and utility programming efforts to citizens
Thank you for all of the opportunities that you have provided Virginia stakeholders on this very important issue that will ultimately shape Virginia’s energy future and sustainability for generations to come.