Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance Backs Executive Directive 11

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CvilleREA supports the recent actions of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in helping the state realize its clean energy future.

Well before President Trump’s recent announcement created a mass gut reaction to vocalize support for the Paris Agreement across the US, the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, signed Executive Directive 11. The federal government’s impending decisions aside, the Commonwealth’s leadership saw that action needed to be taken to ensure that Virginia’s residents could embrace a clean energy future. This action is a measure that the Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance (CvilleREA) not only appreciates, but is lending its full support.

CvilleREA consists of eight renewable energy companies in Charlottesville which have collectively installed over 2,700MW of renewable energy and have developed over $6.5 billion of clean electricity. Part of CvilleREA’s mission is to advocate for the growth of the renewable energy economy. Largely due to the support of Governor McAuliffe, Virginia had taken a turn for the better in the renewable energy space prior to Executive Directive 11 with solar-industry related jobs increasing 65% year over year in 2016 and alternate energy companies in the state developing and installing some of the largest renewable projects in the country. Another potential breakthrough is Virginia’s first utility-scale wind project. Apex Clean Energy, a founding member of CvilleREA, is developing Rocky Forge Wind, which is ready to start construction before the end of 2017. In addition to generating over $20 million in local and state taxes, Rocky Forge will deliver enough clean energy to power up to 20,000 homes annually, offsetting 66,500 tons of CO2 and nearly 265,000 pounds of NOx and SO2 combined. Rocky Forge has received approval from both Botetourt County and the Virginia DEQ, as well as, support from the Virginia Sierra Club and Deer Hunter’s Association.

With all the successes and progress made, however, Virginia dropped to 20th in the national solar rankings from 17th this year, with only 0.05% of the state’s electricity being powered by solar. Executive Directive 11 states that “Through state leadership, Virginia can face the threats of climate change head on and do so in a way that makes clean energy a pillar of our future economic growth and a meaningful part of our energy portfolio.” By establishing regulations to cap and reduce carbon emissions from power plants, businesses will be encouraged to find alternate energy sources, thus continuing the trajectory of creating more renewable jobs in the state. ED11 also establishes a new and innovative cap permit purchase plan which may become a market with other states and further stimulate the Commonwealth’s economy. For CvilleREA, this falls right in line with our mission.

“Virginia’s businesses are embracing renewable energy at a rapid pace,” said Rich Allevi, Co-founder at Sun Tribe Solar. “Our company alone has over 60MW of commercial solar installations in development, all within the state. Executive Directive 11 gives companies a push in the direction that I feel they were already headed, and we are proud to stand with our colleagues in CvilleREA to support the Governor’s actions.”

“Coronal Energy has made a significant investment in Virginia’s clean energy future. Our 20 MW Woodland Solar Center is among the first utility-scale plants in the state, powering 5,000 homes annually. In addition, we’ve broken ground on another 20MW facility in Essex County, marking the first time Dominion Energy has entered into a power purchase agreement with a solar developer. The Essex Solar Center will put 80-100 Virginian’s to work, testament to the impact utility-scale solar can have on the local economy,” said Danny Van Clief, Chief Commercial Officer, Coronal Energy.

Since Executive Directive 11, we have seen some of the most significant decisions made regarding climate change. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, spurring states, cities, and even individual citizens to make their own commitment to uphold the agreement. Governor McAuliffe announced that Virginia would be joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of states determined to move forward with the 26-28% reduction in emissions by 2025 that the U.S. promised as part of the Paris Agreement. This, coupled with Executive Directive 11, places Virginia in a unique position to become the U.S. leader in the renewable energy space. And with Charlottesville’s Mayor, Mike Signer, recently signing on to the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, the city has the opportunity to become the renewable energy hub of the southeast, another part of the CvilleREA mission.

CvilleREA applauds the recent actions of Governor McAuliffe to protect our environment and to increase jobs in the state of Virginia with Executive Directive 11. We are excited to participate in executing the plan and helping Virginia realize its clean energy future.

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Angela Batten
Sun Tribe Solar, LLC
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