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Sarah Vogelsong

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Virginia Mercury: One Year After Clean Economy Act’s Passage, Solar Land Use Tensions Linger

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Feb 1, 2021

Virginia Mercury reported on proposed bills addressing land use issues as more solar projects are considered under the new Virginia Clean Economy Act, quoting AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the full piece here.

Spotsylvania County: 6,350. Fauquier County: 3,500. King William County: 1,262. Each number recited by Del. Charles Poindexter, R-Franklin, to a House panel during the second week of the 2021 General Assembly session represented the number of acres that local governments in Virginia have approved for solar projects to date. 

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: Legislation Aims to Reduce Barriers for Energy Storage Projects

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Jan 20, 2021

Virginia Mercury outlined how state lawmakers are pushing for renewables including wind, solar, energy storage, quoting Virginia Advanced Energy Economy’s Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the full piece here.

In 2020, lawmakers seeking to speed the development of renewables and wean Virginia off fossil fuels made a host of changes to state law that aimed to smooth local approvals of large-scale solar farms. This year, they’re wielding the same tools to encourage the growth of energy storage.

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: Regulator Recommends Approval of Dominion's Renewable Rate Scheme, with Conditions

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Apr 24, 2020

Virginia Mercury covered Va. utility regulator conditions for Dominion Energy's proposed renewable energy offering, quoting Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

A utility regulator is recommending that the State Corporation Commission approve a proposal by Dominion Energy to offer a renewable energy package opposed by a host of environmental and business groups — but only if Dominion can sign up at least 15,000 customers in six months. The report released Tuesday is only a recommendation by Hearing Examiner Mary Beth Adams, but it provides an indication of how the commission, which has decision-making power, may approach the case’s key points.

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: Virginia Made Big Commitments to Renewables. What Does the Economic Slump Mean for them?

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Mar 27, 2020

Virginia Mercury covered how the current economic and financial crisis may affect implementation of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, quoting AEE's JR Tolbert and AEE member Sigora Solar's Karla Loeb. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

Three weeks ago, Virginia’s Democrat-led General Assembly passed the most ambitious plan for transitioning off of fossil fuels and onto renewable energy sources to come out of the South yet. It was a banner moment for environmentalists. Among the promises they secured were state commitments to build out 24 gigawatts of solar, wind and energy storage by 2035 — almost 40 percent more than the existing capacity of the fossil fuel units owned by the state’s largest utility, Dominion Energy — and annual targets that would bind the utilities to progressively including more and more renewables in their energy portfolios. Then the new coronavirus hit, and the financial markets tanked.

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: Virginia Clean Economy Act Clears General Assembly, Aided by Beefed-up Ratepayer Protections

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Mar 6, 2020

Virginia Mercury covered the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in both the House and Senate including floor debates and challenges quoting AEE's JR Tolbert and AEE member Sigora Solar. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. This story was also covered by the Washington Examiner (quoting Godfrey), Richmond Times Dispatch  (Godfrey pictured with bill patrons, sub. req.), and August Free Press (quoting Godfrey).

The Virginia Clean Economy Act cleared its last hurdle in the General Assembly this week when both the House of Delegates and the Senate agreed to a final version that reflected the more aggressive House timeline of making Virginia’s electric grid carbon-free by 2045 while also incorporating stronger protections for electric utility ratepayers.
The bill, SB 851, heads to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam, whose administration has been heavily involved in pushing it forward. Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, the Senate patron of the bill, called the passage “a major historic moment” that will “break our reliance on fossil fuels...”

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: Ten Things to Know About the Clean Economy Act

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Feb 20, 2020

Virginia Mercury summarized the current status of the historic Virginia Clean Energy Economy Act in the House and Senate, quoting Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. This story also ran in 8 other outlets including Fredericksburg's Free Lance-Star.

There’s been a lot of hype and a lot of hand-wringing over the Clean Economy Act, the Democratic energy omnibus that outlines a path for Virginia to get to zero carbon emissions by 2050. In the largely partisan debate, Democrats have contended the VCEA is an ambitious but practical way for the state to combat climate change, the effects of which can already be seen in the sea level rise threatening Hampton Roads.

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: At Senate Panel, a Clash Over the Costs of Shifting Away from Carbon

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Feb 9, 2020

Virginia Mercury covered challenges faced by the Virginia Clean Economy Act quoting Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey who refutes incomplete (and inaccurate) cost analysis by the SCC. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

The Virginia Clean Economy Act, the Democrats’ energy omnibus bill designed to achieve Gov. Ralph Northam’s goals of reducing Virginia’s carbon emissions to zero by 2050, sparked sharp questions from senators Sunday over how the costs of shifting away from carbon should be calculated...

The SCC estimates that the Clean Economy Act, which is being backed by a coalition that includes the renewable energy industry, environmental groups and Virginia’s two electric monopolies, will cause the average electric ratepayer’s bill to increase by at least $23.30 per month by 2027-2030. Annually, customers would see a roughly $280 jump in their bills. According to the SCC, the majority of that increase will come from the buildout of 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind and 16,100 megawatts of solar, both of which the legislation would declare to be in the public interest...

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: Senate Committee Gives the Nod to Nuclear as Part of Renewables Transition

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Jan 21, 2020

Virginia Mercury reported on a state senate committee hearing and action updating Virginia's Energy Policy, quoting AEE representative Greg Habeeb. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Assembly piece here. 

After a slow start, the General Assembly is beginning to take up energy bills. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday signed off on a set of updates to the Commonwealth Energy Policy, as well as proposals to classify nuclear energy as clean energy and develop a strategic plan for how nuclear energy contributes to the state’s renewable energy goals. All of the measures now head to the Senate floor. 

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: With New Democratic Leaders, General Assembly Faces Flood of Energy Proposals

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Jan 6, 2020

Virginia Mercury covered the recent surge of proposed advanced energy bills filed in the Virginia General Assembly, quoting Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

The week after elections swept Democrats to power in the General Assembly, environment and clean energy activists struggled to get their sea legs in the new ocean of possibilities that suddenly opened up before them. “I think everyone’s a little surprised by the power dynamics and the shift in the political calculus,” said Tim Cywinski, communications coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Virginia chapter, at the time.

Now, on the brink of the session, energy lobbyists’ hazy sense of optimism is assuming more defined lines.

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Topics: AEE In The News

Virginia Mercury: Natural Gas Development is Speeding Up in Virginia. Legislators Will Have to Square That With State Climate Goals.

Posted by Sarah Vogelsong on Dec 30, 2020

Virginia Mercury reported on Virginia's energy mix and natural gas development given Gov. Ralph Northam's recent call for a carbon-free grid, including quotes by Virginia AEE's Harry Godfrey. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

This September, Gov. Ralph Northam took the stage at the inaugural Virginia Clean Energy Summit to announce he was committing the state to a carbon-free grid by 2050. “I always say that I want Virginia to be a welcoming place, with our lights on and our doors open,” he said. “Well, I also want those lights to be powered by clean energy.” But as the governor received a standing ovation, elsewhere in the commonwealth work was underway to massively expand infrastructure supporting a very different — and decidedly not carbon-free — type of energy: natural gas. 

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Topics: AEE In The News