- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) signed off on 11 bills promoting clean energy, energy efficiency and rate approval for pumped storage facilities, the Fauquier Times reports.
- Those bills include developing green zones giving special taxing and zoning breaks for constructors building energy efficient buildings and establishing a community solar pilot project. Another bill, House Bill 1760, helps out utilities seeking to convert abandoned coal mines in southwest Virginia into pumped storage projects.
- The news outlet reports revenue from clean energy efforts rose from $500 million to $2 billion since 2014, with state officials emphasizing job creation as a clear incentive for approving these bills.
Virginia is a relatively conservative state when it comes to renewable energy, but that's starting to change thanks to a slate of bills the governor signed earlier this week. Among those bills is one securing rate approval for pumped storage projects in Southwestern Virginia and backed by the state's major investor-owned utilities: Appalachian Power and Dominion Energy.
A bill proposing a community solar pilot projects also received the governor's signature. Under Senate Bill 1393, Appalachian Power, Dominion and electric cooperatives can develop its own program specified to its own territory.
While lawmakers have taken steps to ensure the state's clean energy future is growing, incumbent utility Dominon Energy is also eyeing solar power as a significant part of its power mix. Dominon Virginia Power's latest version of its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for 5.2 GW of new solar generation to add to its portfolio over a 25-year span. The company said federal policy changes rolling back environmental and climate regulations will not sway its commitment to lowering carbon emissions and boosting renewable energy.