Landmark Democratic Initiative Virginia Clean Economy Act Under Fire From Republicans

The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) is one of the signature pieces of legislation Democrats passed during their control of Virginia’s General Assembly and the governor’s mansion. It set deadlines for utilities to be 100-percent carbon, set energy efficiency standards for utilities, declared that solar and wind are “in the public interest,” created a Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, and brought Virginia into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI,) a program where utilities have to bid for carbon dioxide emissions allowances.

The day after the act passed out of the House in February 2020, House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) called Democrats’ actions including the VCEA historic, but warned that those bills would have far-reaching impacts, including higher energy prices for citizens and businesses.

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Youngkin Will Pull Virginia Out of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Says He Supports All-of-the-Above Energy Policy

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced that he will use an executive order to pull Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an 11-state cap-and-trade initiative aimed at reducing utility carbon dioxide emissions by requiring utilities to bid for carbon dioxide allowances in state auctions. Youngkin’s commitment is one of his first specific energy and environmental policy statements, but he couched it as part of his broader plan to lower Virginians’ cost of living.

“RGGI will cost ratepayers over the next four years an estimated $1 billion to $1.2 billion dollars,” Youngkin said Wednesday to the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.. “RGGI describes itself as a regional market for carbon, but it is really a carbon tax that is fully passed on to ratepayers. It’s a bad deal for Virginians. It’s a bad deal for Virginia businesses, and as Governor, I will withdraw us from RGGI by Executive Action. I promised to lower the cost of living in Virginia and this is just the beginning.” 

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In Settlement, Dominion Energy Virginia Customers Get $330 Million Refund, While Utility Keeps $309 Million For Reinvestment

Virginia’s Dominion Energy customers will get $330 million in refunds due to a settlement. On Thursday, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved the settlement put forward in October, closing the agency’s triennial financial review of the utility. SCC staff found that the company may have overcharged customers as much as $1.1 billion, according to a September report. Dominion Energy can deduct some items from that before issuing refunds, including a $309 million Customer Credit Reinvestment Offset (CCRO) that allows reinvestment in offshore wind, solar, and grid transformation projects.

The settlement also includes a rate reduction that will reduce customers’ bills.

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Virginia Gets the First U.S.-Based Offshore Wind Blade Manufacturing Facility

Offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing is coming to the U.S. and Virginia as part of a partnership between Dominion Energy and Spain-based manufacturer Siemens Gamesa. Dominion Energy has been expanding its offshore wind project with support from Virginia officials, and is already using Siemens Gamesa to manufacture blades in Europe.

“Virginians want renewable energy, our employers want it, and Virginia is delivering it,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a Monday press release. “The Commonwealth is joining these leading companies to create the most important clean-energy partnership in the United States. This is good news for energy customers, the union workers who will bring this project to life, and our business partners. Make no mistake: Virginia is building a new industry in renewable energy, with more new jobs to follow, and that’s good news for our country.”

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At Conference, Northam Says Virginia Is Ideal for Offshore Wind Industry

RICHMOND, Virginia — Governor Ralph Northam and Dominion Energy CEO Robert Blue announced that the Port of Virginia will lease 72 acres of the deep-water Portsmouth Marine Terminal for staging and pre-assembly of Dominion’s offshore wind project.

“This announcement is yet another milestone toward making Virginia the national leader in offshore wind power,” Northam said. “The Commonwealth and Dominion Energy are standing together to promote clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and build a new American industry on the East Coast of the United States.”

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John Fredericks Commentary: Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project Will Bring Jobs to the Commonwealth

Anybody who knows me knows I’m a jobs guy. I believe in jobs, good wages and all the positives than come from infrastructure projects. We have one about to explode in our own backyard here in Virginia – and I mean explode in a good way. It’s the multi-billion dollar economic development blockbuster known as the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project. This thing has been under development for a long time…from the informational meetings years ago, the drawing boards, the public meetings, the regulatory hurdles and the construction.

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