Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued an Executive Order this week establishing a statewide energy production goal for 30% of the state’s electric system to be powered by renewables by 2030, and 100% of the system resources to come from renewables by 2050. Announcement of the action came on September 17 at a clean energy summit in Richmond.
The Executive Order directs the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to develop a plan to achieve the stated goals, which is to be completed by July 1, 2020. Among specific considerations set forth in the Order are: 1) targets for wind and solar energy production (5,500 megawatts by 2028); 2) increased utility investment in energy efficiency programs; 3) offshore wind energy capacity of 2,500 megawatts by 2025; and “measures that provide communities of color and low-and moderate-income communities access to clean energy and a reduction in their energy burdens.” The Order also mandates that the Commonwealth of Virginia “shall procure at least 30 percent of the electricity under the statewide electric contract with Dominion Energy from renewable energy resources by 2022.”
Reactions to the Governor’s proposal from environmental groups have been supportive, but with expressed concerns. Here are two examples:
We’re pleased that Virginia is joining other states that have pledged to take serious action on climate. But current state policies and plans for new fracked-gas infrastructure like the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines directly contradict the executive order’s ambitious goals.
- Tom Cormons, Executive Director, Appalachian Voices
Governor Northam’s commitment to a 100% carbon-free energy future by 2050 and 30% renewable energy by 2030 is one of the most ambitious climate action goals in the South. We applaud his efforts to lead by example at the state agency level, address environmental justice, and his commitment to workforce development.
But Northam’s order ignores the fracked-gas elephant in the room. If we are going to solve the climate crisis, we cannot continue supporting and investing in proposed fracked-gas pipelines like the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. One place to start would be directing his Department of Environmental Quality to issue stop-work orders for those projects.
- Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
For more details, including a link to the Executive Order, click here.