Virginia government officials have announced that the state is expected to get nearly 45% of its energy from renewable sources by the beginning of 2022.
According to these estimations, the target established in a recent executive order by Gov. Ralph Northam will be exceeded. This remarkable feat can be credited to the governor who recently committed Virginia to make its electric grid completely free of carbon by 2050.
This contract is also being hailed as the biggest effort made by an American state government for renewable energy.
Virginia’s Commitment to Reducing its Carbon Footprint
As Matthew J Strickler, the Secretary of Natural Resources, said in an interview, clean energy is crucial to fighting climate change. He also said that in addition to this agreement, there are several other renewable energy initiatives underway to show that Virginia is serious about cleaning up air pollution and reducing carbon emission.
The historic contract marks the accomplishment of one part of Northam’s Executive Order 43 that was issued in September. According to this order, the state of Virginia is to start negotiating amendments to its contract with Dominion Energy, which is the largest electric utility in the state. The modifications to the statewide contract will ensure that about 30% of energy will come from renewable sources by 2022.
Multiple Solar and Wind Projects Launched
The new agreement also states that Dominion will provide 420 extra megawatts of energy obtained from solar and wind sources. This means that at least 100,000 more homes in Virginia will be powered by renewable sources.
Out of the 420 megawatts, 75 will be provided by the Rocky Forge Wind farm that is under development in Botetourt County by Apex Clean Energy. The rest of the energy units will come from 3 different solar projects: the Walnut Solar project in King and Queen County by Open Road Renewables; the Bedford Solar project in Chesapeake by Lincoln Clean Energy; the Belcher Solar facility in Louisa County by Dominion. And a yet-to-be-identified 4th solar project will supply 100 megawatts to the state.
The Walnut Solar project is yet to get local approval for construction but the Bedford Solar farm has already started construction after receiving approval recently.
It is notable that Northam’s agreement with Dominion allows them to propose that the energy be supplied from other solar projects if those already listed have not started commercial operations.
Nearly Half of Virginia’s Energy Usage Will Come From Clean Sources
The spokesperson of Dominion Energy recently announced that once the 420 megawatts are pooled with earlier announced solar projects, the resulting power will be enough to meet about 45% of Virginia’s annual energy usage.
This latest development is not going to have any impact on the energy prices and the customer rates which is awesome! The new agreement allows Dominion to create a new rider to bear the costs of renewable energy facilities.
The utility spokesman, Rauhan Daudani, stated that no customer will need to pay for the costs associated with these new facilities. He also said that this rider will not require State approval as it will be just a new element as a non-jurisdictional consumer on the state’s bill.
Virginia is set to save a significant amount of money in the long-term due to this agreement.