Virginia’s Future Is Green

The current population of the state of Virginia is approximately 8.57 million people. In May 2019, state utilities used natural gas (50.0%), nuclear energy (39.0%), renewable energy (8.3%) and coal (2.6%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, biomass and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Virginia.

Virginia’s reliance on inexpensive natural gas offsets the high cost of nuclear energy, which contributes to state’s below average electricity costs. In May 2019, the average cost of electricity in Virginia was U.S. 12.5 ¢ per kWh, which is the 25th most expensive state in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States in May 2019 was 13.3 ¢ per kWh.

Concerns over climate change have prompted state legislators to develop the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan, which is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy consumption. The Virginia General Assembly also created the Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Development Authority to facilitate and support the development of the offshore wind industry and wind-powered electric energy facilities located off Virginia’s coast.

Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest investor owned utility has commenced construction on the 12 MW capacity Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. The offshore wind project is scheduled to commence operation in 2020.

Dominion Energy has recently requested proposals for solar and onshore wind projects in Virginia, which have a total capacity of 500 MW. The company has also announced plans to develop four battery storage projects, which will have a total of 16 MW capacity. Battery storage will improve grid reliability and performance of intermittent wind and solar energy projects.

Virginia has been slow to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy, over the past fifteen years. However, Dominion Energy’s offshore wind, onshore wind, solar and battery storage projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money.

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