SSV: The Virginia Clean Economy Act

Al Christopher (left) and Michael Skiffington

From the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), administrator of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Michael Skiffington Director of Policy and Al Christopher director of the Energy Division, spoke at the November 2020 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia on the goals and implementation of the Virginia Clean Economy Act passed by the Virginia legislature in 2020. By 2050 Virginia targets to be 100 percent clean power. After an explanation of the role of 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 has been renewed interest, 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 two 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.

The two spoke at the Wednesday November 11, 2020 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held on Zoom. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member and past president, Bob McGrath.