Virginia Regulator Approves Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project

The Virginia State Corporation Commission approved applications from Dominion Energy for its proposed Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project to feature 176 wind turbines 27 miles off Virginia’s coast, although the project still needs federal approvals.

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Dominion Energy Opens 12-Megawatt Battery System, Piloting Energy Storage to Accompany Wind, Solar

Dominion Energy is now operating a 12 megawatt bank of three battery systems at its Scott Solar facility in Powhatan County. That’s the largest battery storage project the utility operates, according to a Thursday announcement, and is part of a pilot program aimed at developing energy storage alongside wind and solar power generation.

“Battery storage is an integral component to the clean energy transition in Virginia, supporting grid reliability for our customers during periods of high demand and by helping to fill gaps due to the inherent intermittency of solar and wind power,” Dominion Energy Virginia President Ed Baine said in a press release.

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Charlotte Board of Supervisors Approves Permit for Largest Solar Facility in Virginia (So Far)

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors approved a use permit for an 800 megawatt solar facility — the largest in Virginia so far, according to SoVaNow. That moves the Randolph Solar Project close to its sale from developer SolUnesco to Dominion Energy, which needs to reduce carbon emissions after the General Assembly passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020.

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Virginia Budget Includes Some Wins for Both Businesses and Workers

Virginia’s FY 2023-2024 budget includes some wins for both businesses and workers, according to pro-business organization NFIB Virginia and pro-labor organization Virginia AFL-CIO. General Assembly negotiators have emphasized the compromise nature of the budget, but flashy proposals on tax relief, education, and law enforcement have gotten most of the attention.

“Governor Youngkin and legislators agreed on many issues that are important to Virginia’s small business, including full funding of the commonwealth’s unemployment insurance program, but we’re disappointed that so some key issues didn’t make the final cut, like the three-month suspension of the fuel tax,” NFIB Virginia State Director Julia Hammond said in a press release.

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Youngkin Picks Trump EPA Chief for Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources

Former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will be Secretary of Natural Resources, and former Federal Reserve System Chief Information Officer Margaret “Lyn” McDemid will be Secretary of Administration, Youngkin’s campaign announced Wednesday. Youngkin also announced that Michael Rolband will be Director of Environmental Quality.

“Virginia needs a diverse energy portfolio in place to fuel our economic growth, continued preservation of our natural resources, and a comprehensive plan to tackle rising sea levels. Andrew and Michael share my vision in finding new ways to innovate and use our natural resources to provide Virginia with a stable, dependable, and growing power supply that will meet Virginia’s power demands without passing the costs on to the consumer,” said Governor-elect Youngkin.

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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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Delegate Wendy Gooditis Facing Serious Challenge from Republican Newcomer Nick Clemente

Virginia House District 10 is one of Republicans’ best chances to flip a House seat in the election; Republicans hope to retake the majority by winning a net six seats. The district includes part of Loudoun County, where the local school board has become a battleground and a national bellweather for the GOP’s new messaging on education. Statewide politicians have made repeated stops in the area, and GOP challenger Nick Clemente and Delegate Wendy Gooditis (D-Clarke) have together raised over $2 million, placing the district number one among the 100 House seats for fundraising, according to The Virginia Public Access Project.

“I think Gooditis is probably the second most likely Democrat to lose in the House,”¬†CNalysis¬†Executive Director Chaz Nuttycombe said. “I think Nick Clemente is definitely the strongest recruit that the GOP has going up against the Democrats.”

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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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Virginia Delegate Rasoul Tries Again with Green New Deal

Delegate Sam Rasoul has pre-filed his “Green New Deal Act” [GND] in the Virginia House which includes a moratorium on new fossil fuel infrastructure beginning January 1, 2022.

“The 2021 GND Act tackles the dual crisis of climate change and inequity with an intersectional approach,” Rasoul said in an announcement on Twitter. “The science is clear. We must act swiftly to address the climate crisis.”

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