New agreement to purchase 420 megawatts of solar and wind energy follows historic month for clean energy in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia has announced a landmark agreement representing the largest contract that any state has negotiated to buy renewable energy to power state government. This historic state contract will ensure that by 2022, 30 percent of the electricity consumed by state agencies and institutions in Virginia comes from renewable sources, meeting an ambitious goal the Governor set forth last month in Executive Order Forty-Three.
The agreement with the Commonwealth’s utility, Dominion Energy, includes 75 megawatts of wind energy from Apex Clean Energy, in what will be Virginia’s first-ever onshore wind farm. Apex Clean Energy is working with state and local authorities to develop the Rocky Forge wind energy project in Botetourt County. And with another 345 megawatts coming from solar energy projects, this partnership will supply the Commonwealth with 420 megawatts of renewable energy, which is the equivalent of powering more than 100,000 homes.
“With this landmark contract, Virginia is leading by example and demonstrating how states can step up to combat climate change and advance a clean energy economy,” said Governor Northam. “Moving our Commonwealth toward cleaner, renewable energy will require innovation, bold commitments, and diverse partnerships. Today’s announcement follows an historic month for renewable energy in Virginia—I am proud that this agreement will help us achieve our clean energy targets and secure a healthier environment for future generations.”
Executive Order Forty-Three sets new statewide clean energy goals for the Commonwealth, including having 30 percent of Virginia’s electric system powered from renewable sources by 2030, and 100 percent of electricity coming from carbon-free sources by 2050.
“This is an historic announcement for renewable energy growth in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The positive impact that this procurement will have on Virginia cannot be overstated, and we look forward to more clean energy businesses coming to the Commonwealth as we take these proactive steps to support this industry’s growth.”
The Commonwealth has worked with Dominion Energy to begin construction of the first offshore wind project in federal waters, consisting of two six-megawatt wind turbines. The demonstration project is set to be completed by the end of next year and is the first step toward the development of the full 2,600 megawatt offshore wind resource off Virginia’s coast, which equates to powering 650,000 homes.
In recent weeks, the Northam administration has made several announcements about Virginia’s transition toward additional renewable energy deployment. Last month, Governor Northam announced that the Commonwealth will dedicate $20 million from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust to help Virginia public school districts replace older diesel school buses with electric buses.
Governor Northam also recently announced four new solar projects that are expected to generate 192 megawatts of electric power. Since Governor Northam took office in January 2018, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued 23 permits for solar projects that will generate more than 800 megawatts of energy, and the agency expects to permit an additional 478 megawatts for seven projects by the end of this year.
“Clean and renewable energy is a critical key to fighting climate change and is one of the most effective tools we have to address and mitigate these impacts,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “Today’s announcement, along with several other clean energy related initiatives currently underway, clearly demonstrate that Virginia is serious about investing in clean energy, reducing carbon emissions, and cleaning up air pollution to improve our environment.”