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Virginia Mercury: With New Democratic Leaders, General Assembly Faces Flood of Energy Proposals

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Jan 6, 2020

Virginia Mercury covered the recent surge of proposed advanced energy bills filed in the Virginia General Assembly, quoting Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

The week after elections swept Democrats to power in the General Assembly, environment and clean energy activists struggled to get their sea legs in the new ocean of possibilities that suddenly opened up before them. “I think everyone’s a little surprised by the power dynamics and the shift in the political calculus,” said Tim Cywinski, communications coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Virginia chapter, at the time.

Now, on the brink of the session, energy lobbyists’ hazy sense of optimism is assuming more defined lines.

The renewables boom has brought fresh developments in solar and wind to the commonwealth — and attendant concerns about land use, viewsheds and wildlife impacts — but many industry watchers are predicting the General Assembly will focus much of its attention on top-line issues like carbon caps, energy efficiency and affordability, clean energy mandates and consumer energy choice. Those debates will be consequential not only for the policy they establish going forward, but also for the new political map they draw in a Virginia increasingly aware of the outsized influence of Dominion Energy, the state’s largest electric utility, in the Capitol...

Consistent with Virginia’s uptick in interest in equity issues, energy efficiency is shaping up to be a major talking point in the upcoming legislature. Lindsey’s Alternative Energy and Coastal Protection Act would require up to 30 percent of RGGI revenues to go toward energy efficiency efforts, with 20 percent directed to low-income communities. The Clean Economy Act would require utilities to meet annual efficiency benchmarks — and would bar them from building new generation facilities if they fail to do so...

“We can’t allow binding energy efficiency targets to fall off the radar,” said Harry Godfrey, executive director of Virginia Advanced Energy Economy, which was part of a coalition drafting the Clean Economy Act...

Read the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

Topics: United In The News