Archive for November, 2020

Virginia Clean Economy Act: Goals and Implementation

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

The Virginia Clean Economy Act was signed into law in April.  This makes Virginia the first state in the South to target 100 % clean power.  The deadline for this is 2050.  The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is one of the Commonwealth’s agencies charged with making sure the VCEA’s goals are met.

Listen to a podcast of the meeting.

Watch a video of the Zoom meeting held on November 11 by clicking here.  The program was moderated by Bob McGrath, SSV board member and past president.  The speakers:

Al Christopher has been director of the Energy Division of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy since March 2009.  For about four years prior to that he was executive director of Virginia Clean Cities, a nonprofit coalition that promotes alternative fuel and electric vehicles.  Al was a second-generation fuel distributor and a newspaper editor and reporter, working in Hampton VA; Tampa FL; and Washington DC. He has a B.S. in mass communications and an MBA, both from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Michael Skiffington is the director of policy and planning for the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.  He serves as the agency’s primary liaison to the General Assembly, as well as being the agency’s regulatory coordinator since January 2010,  Michael also leads the agency’s strategic planning team.  A lifelong Virginian, he received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Old Dominion University and a law degree from George Mason University.  An avid musician since the age of eight, Michael lives with his wife in downtown Richmond, anxiously awaiting the return of live music.

Program Summary

The Virginia Clean Economy Act passed by the legislature this year. By 2050 Virginia targets to be 100 percent clean power. After an explanation of the role of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), the speakers focused on the implementation of the Clean Economy Act. There are benchmarks to be met along the way to a 100% clean power economy with penalties for failing to reach them.
For example, by 2030 30 percent of energy must come from renewable resources and any new building has to account for the cost of carbon pollution. Penalties are administered by DMME.

Past legislation has tried to address the problem of pollution, but in recent years there is renewed interest, and additionally new to this legislation is the requirement that there can be no negative effect on disadvantaged communities.

Wind and solar power are additional areas that offer opportunities to reach the 2050 goal. Twenty-seven miles offshore of Hampton Roads there are three wind turbines that could produce enough energy for 5,000 homes with many more turbines in the works.

The speakers also spoke about the economic opportunities for business in Virginia such as research and development and job training. Virginia is involved in regional cooperation in this venture as well as “cap and trade” efforts with northeastern states. There are two major companies affected by this act, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power with separate goals for each one.