by James A. Bacon
Governor Terry McAuliffe has set up a work group to recommend concrete steps to reduce “carbon pollution” from Virginia’s electric power plants. Utilities cut carbon emissions 21% between 2005 and 2014, and the group will focus on how to continue the trajectory “in a way that makes clean energy a meaningful part of Virginia’s energy portfolio.”
“Many of the largest employers on the globe have made it clear that the availability of clean energy is a key part of their decision-making process when it comes to new jobs and investments,” said McAuliffe in a press release, in an apparent reference to Amazon Web Services and other companies who are working to develop clean energy sources for their Northern Virginia data centers. “To continue attracting competitive and innovative businesses, we need to invest in a 21st century energy policy to ensure our grid is reliable, affordable, and clean.”
The electric sector is responsible for 30% of man-made carbon dioxide emissions in the Commonwealth, stated the press release. “The electric sector is changing rapidly through increasing reliance on low and zero carbon resources. As such, it is vital that the Commonwealth could continue to facilitate and engage in a dialogue on carbon reduction methods while simultaneously creating a pathway for clean energy initiatives that will grow jobs and help diversify Virginia’s economy.”
While the work group is tasked with reducing carbon emissions, it shall “consider” the impact of such initiatives on electric reliability, electric rates, affordability for low-income communities, and economic development, among other factors. The group also shall reflect a diverse range of perspectives from scientists, energy experts, business leaders and environmental advocates.
McAuliffe has already convened a work group to update the Kaine administration’s report on climate change, and a group to advise the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on how Virginia should implement the federal Clean Power Plan. Other actions have set up a Solar Energy Development Authority, directed state agencies to implement energy efficient practices, and set procurement standards to get 8% of their electricity from renewable sources within three years.
Bacon’s bottom line: It’s not clear to me what this group will accomplish that the others have not. But I guess it never hurts to take another bite of the apple.There are currently no comments highlighted.