The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) is currently engaging stakeholders and consumers as it attempts to create the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan. According to DMME, this plan is intended to create a “strategic vision for the energy policy of the Commonwealth over the next 10 years.” This process is required by the Virginia Code, and DMME will have to submit its plan to the Governor, the State Corporation Commission and the General Assembly by October 1, 2018.
Our representative attended the recent “Stakeholder Kickoff Meeting” to get a feel for DMME’s vision for energy policy in Virginia. The discussion was divided into five “tracks,” each with specific goals. The tracks include solar and wind, energy efficiency, offshore wind, electric vehicles, and energy storage.
The goals DMME has tentatively set forth for solar and wind in Virginia are promising. They include increasing the residential net metering cap from 20kW to 40kW and increasing the overall net metering program beyond the current maximum of 1% of the utility’s peak load to 3% of peak load. There will also be discussion of making third-party power purchase agreements available throughout the Commonwealth as well as increasing the cap on PPA installations. It also intends to propose that DMME and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) use their full authority to develop the Virginia Wind Energy Area, the 113,000-acre area off the coast of Virginia.
We feel particularly encouraged by DMME’s purported commitment to engage stakeholders and the public in the process of developing this plan. There will be a 60-day public comment period, running through August 24, 2018. There will also be a number of public listening sessions throughout the state, each of which will focus on a particular topic. All of the information about submitting a comment or attending one of these meetings can be found here.
We at Powered by Facts will continue to be engaged and informed in this process as the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan is developed. We hope that you will also be inspired to submit a comment or attend a meeting to ensure that the voice of the ratepayer is heard. It is important that Virginia has a well thought out energy plan to guide it through diversifying energy sources and creating a more energy secure future.