The current population of the state of Virginia is approximately 8.57 million people. In June 2019, state utilities used natural gas (61.30%), nuclear energy (28.1%), renewable energy (5.9%) and coal (4.7%) 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 June 2019, the average cost of electricity in Virginia was U.S. 12.6 ¢ per kWh, which is the 29th most expensive state in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States in June 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 also announced plans to build a 2,600 MW offshore wind project, which will be located approximately 27 miles off the coastal town of Virginia. The company intends to construct this major wind project in three phases from 2024 to 2026.
Dominion Energy has recently announced an electric transportation initiative designed to replace all diesel school buses in Virginia with electric buses. The company’s plan has 50 new electric buses operating by 2020 and 1,000 electric buses operating by 2025. Dominion Energy’s initiative will result in all school buses being electric by 2030.
Virginia has been slow to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy, over the past fifteen years. However, Dominion Energy’s offshore wind and electric school bus project will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money.