Northam speeds up Virginia’s clean energy timetable
Clean Energy Virginia initiative aims for carbon-free electricity production by 2045
The governor announced Tuesday the Clean Energy Virginia initiative, a project that aims to generate 100% of Virginia’s electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045 while investing in solar and wind energy and battery storage.
“Virginia has a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform the state’s electric grid in a way that powers our COVID-19 economic recovery and drives down harmful carbon pollution,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement Tuesday. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy will host a five-part webinar series in July and August to educate businesses and citizens on the goals of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which was passed in the 2020 General Assembly session and took effect July 1.
Last fall, Northam signed Executive Order 43, which set a goal to produce all of the state’s energy from carbon-free sources, including wind, solar and nuclear, by 2050. The announcement Tuesday aims for all carbon-producing power sources that produce Virginia’s electricity to retire by 2045.
Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement that the initiative also will provide education and resources to clean energy companies seeking to build or expand in Virginia, with hopes that the business sector will grow.
Tuesday’s announcement from Northam comes after Dominion Energy Inc. announced the sale of its natural gas holdings to an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway for $9.7 billion, including $5.7 billion in existing debt, as well as the Virginia-based utility giant’s decision, with Duke Energy Corp., to abandon the $8 billion-plus natural gas pipeline, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Meanwhile, Dominion debuted in late June its massive offshore wind pilot project, which is the first in U.S. federal waters, 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The utility company plans to build a $7.8 billion, 200-turbine wind farm by 2026, which would be the largest such project in the nation.
The DMME webinars, which start July 22, will focus on energy efficiency, distributed solar generation, energy storage, utility-scale solar and onshore wind, and offshore wind. To register, visit this site.