Virginia releases new energy plan

By Erin Voegele | October 16, 2014

On Oct. 14, Gov. Terry McAuliffe officially unveiled the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, which aims to provide a strategic vision for energy policy within the state. According to information released by the governor’s office, the plan has been constructed to provide a comprehensive overview of where Virginia has been and currently is in terms of its energy assets. The plan also charts a path forward for energy policy.

“If we are going to build the economy Virginia families deserve, we must begin by giving them the energy plan our economy demands,” McAuliffe said. “The plan we are rolling out today is focused on growing our energy economy (particularly in the renewable sector), emphasizing energy conservation, strengthening our energy infrastructure and training the workforce we need for the future. By working together, I am confident that four years from now we will live in a stronger Commonwealth that is less dependent on external forces and is fueled by cleaner, cheaper and more abundant Virginia energy.”

The report provides an overview of the current state of energy assets in Virginia. The report addresses biofuel production and use, including ethanol. It also discusses bioenergy technologies, including utility-scale biomass power, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas. Wood pellets and energy crop production are also addressed.

The report includes several recommendations that aim to accelerate the development of renewable energy in Virginia. The plan calls for the development of a diverse fuel mix that includes an increase in the development of zero-emitting renewable sources and energy efficiency. 

The document recommends that Virginia create an environment that welcomes significant growth in renewable generation, from small-scale distributed generation to commercial and utility-scale deployment. addition to making several specific recommendations for solar, off-shore wind and coal, the plan calls for the acceleration of advanced vehicle technologies and the use of alternative transportation fuels.

The plan also recommends that the educational environment be expanded and fostered to prepare the next generation of Virginia’s energy workforce. This includes expanding participation in programs to train veterans, collaborating with community colleges and four-year institutions to train STEM workers in the energy sector, and increasing statewide attainment rates of credentials that align with employer needs. In addition, the plan aims to align energy workforce supply to current and anticipated employer demands

A full copy of the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan can be accessed on the Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy website.