RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam has signed Executive Order Forty-Three, which establishes ambitious statewide goals and targets for clean energy deployment and expands upon the Commonwealth’s commitments to reduce our environmental impact, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and boost the clean energy economy in Virginia. Governor Northam made the announcement today at the Virginia Clean Energy Summit in Richmond.
The Executive Order lays out Virginia’s objectives for statewide energy production, which includes the goal that by 2030, 30 percent of Virginia’s electric system will be powered by renewable energy resources and by 2050, 100 percent of Virginia’s electricity will be produced from carbon-free sources such as wind, solar and nuclear. The path forward includes ensuring at least 3,000 megawatts of solar and onshore wind are under development by 2022, and that up to 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind are fully developed on an accelerated timeline by 2026.
“Since I took office, our administration has been focused on establishing a strong and bold vision for Virginia as we work to modernize our electric grid and reduce barriers to the development of clean energy resources,” said Governor Northam. “We know the importance of a true shift to reliance on renewable energy sources in reducing our carbon footprint, growing our economy, and creating the clean energy jobs of the future. This Executive Order will help ensure that Virginia remains at the forefront of clean energy innovation, meets the urgency of the challenges brought on by climate change, and captures the economic, environmental, and health benefits of this energy growth in an equitable way that benefits all Virginians.”
The Executive Order establishes lead-by-example targets for increasing energy efficiency and sets forth a goal of procuring at least 30 percent of the electricity consumed by the Commonwealth’s agencies and executive branch institutions from renewable resources by 2022.
“Virginia is already feeling the impacts of global warming in the form of rising sea levels, increased flooding, and more extreme weather events,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “The public health, public safety, and economic consequences of climate change are undeniable, and this Executive Order is a necessary piece of our strategy to reduce carbon pollution and related emissions and improve quality of life for all Virginians.”
This Executive Order directs the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Secretary of Natural Resources, and the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, to develop a plan of action to meet these renewable energy goals. The plan will also address issues related to energy storage, energy efficiency, equity, and environmental justice.
“These energy goals send a clear signal to renewable energy industries that the Commonwealth is open for business, and that we will be a trailblazer in the development solar and wind energy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball.
The Chief Workforce Advisor and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade will work with stakeholders to develop an energy workforce plan that supports the growing needs of the energy efficiency and renewable energy sector and creates career pathways for the communities that need them the most by aligning current curriculum and training programs with job opportunities.
The full text of Executive Order Forty-Three can be found here.
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