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10.15.2018 Legal News

Virginia Releases 2018 Energy Plan

On October 2, 2018, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam released the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan (the “Energy Plan”), which provides an update on Virginia’s current energy system and a strategic vision for the Commonwealth’s energy policy over the next 10 years.  In particular, the Energy Plan makes recommendations on several key energy policy objectives, including the following specific policy tracks:

  • Solar and onshore wind,
  • Offshore wind,
  • Energy efficiency,
  • Energy storage, and
  • Electric vehicles and advanced transportation.

With respect to solar and onshore wind in Virginia, the Energy Plan recommends that at least 3,000 MW of the 5,000 MW of solar and wind resources (deemed in the public interest under Senate Bill 966) be deployed by 2022.  To achieve this goal, the Energy Plan recommends that Virginia’s investor-owned utilities issue request for proposals (RFPs) annually (beginning in 2018) for the procurement of at least 500 megawatts of solar or wind projects each year.  It also calls for expanded resources at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to meet the growing demand of the Permit by Rule (PBR) program, as well as a comprehensive review and overhaul of the PBR regulation, including clarifications to timelines, responsibilities, and best practices.

The Energy Plan also recommends that Dominion Energy issue RFPs (beginning in spring of 2019) to procure 150 MW of rooftop solar installations annually, with at least 25% procured through power purchase agreements (PPAs).  This recommendation is largely based on Senate Bill 966, which deems 500 MW of rooftop solar facilities in the public interest and provides that 25% of the solar generation procured should be obtained through purchases from third parties.  Further, it recommends that caps on Virginia’s third party PPA pilot program be increased and available in all service territories statewide.  Currently, the aggregate capacity of all third party renewable generating facilities is capped at 50 MW in Dominion Energy’s service territory and 7 MW in Appalachian Power Company’s service territory.

Finally, with respect to offshore wind, the Energy Plan proposes the establishment of a goal that the full 2,000 MW of offshore wind potential in Virginia’s wind energy area be developed by 2028.  Further, the Energy Plan recommends that the Commonwealth include the offshore wind industry as a priority in future workforce development and economic development strategic plans. 

Additional recommendations and details are included in the Energy Plan.  To download a copy, please click here.  If you have any questions or for more information, please contact any member of our Williams Mullen Energy Team.