Virginia Energy Efficiency Council Applauds Emphasis on Efficiency and Conservation in Virginia Energy Plan
October 1, Richmond — The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) applauds Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Energy Plan, released on October 1. As the Governors says in his opening letter, “the cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy that is not consumed,” underscoring the central role energy efficiency will play in the Commonwealth’s energy future.
The plan is intended to provide a strategic vision for energy policy in Virginia, providing a comprehensive view of current assets and future opportunities.
“The VAEEC is pleased that the new plan identifies energy efficiency as a leading solution to many of the challenges we face in Virginia,” said Ken Rosenfeld, executive director of the VAEEC. “This is great news as we look toward the future and plan to meet the energy needs of the Commonwealth. We thank Gov. McAuliffe, the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME), and the Virginia Energy Council (VEC) for identifying energy efficiency as the most cost effective energy resource and as an engine for economic development.”
Energy efficiency and conservation are highlighted as a separate section in the plan, which includes the following statements:
• “Energy efficiency and conservation offer Virginians the most cost-effective and most readily deployable method to manage the Commonwealth’s energy future.”
• “The efficient use of energy results in decreased use of resources, less air pollution, and therefore, cost savings.”
The related recommendation in the plan is to “Make Virginia a Leader in Energy Efficiency to Reduce Consumption and Spur Economic Growth.” Five associated initiatives are identified:
• Establish a Virginia Board on Energy Efficiency that will develop a strategic plan to achieve the voluntary state goal of reducing energy consumption by 10% by 2020.
• Aggressively implement energy efficiency in state government.
• Develop a marketing, outreach and preliminary assistance program to engage local municipalities in Energy Performance Contracting (EPC).
• Create a central state facility energy data registry and dashboard to track energy consumption at all state agencies.
• Engage social entrepreneurs in exploring and implementing innovative models, such as pay for performance, in order to test new and innovative ways to cut energy bills and to finance energy efficiency upgrades in existing multi-family residential properties.
Many of the recommendations are consistent with input provided by the VAEEC during the public outreach portion of the plan’s development. The VAEEC recommended convening a group similar to the proposed Virginia Board on Energy Efficiency and recommended an expansion of performance contracting in government buildings. The VAEEC also called for energy efficiency to be recognized for the first time as a separate section in the plan, placing it on equal footing with other energy sources.
“This Energy Plan echoes the recommendations made by the VAEEC and provides momentum for achieving some real progress on energy efficiency in Virginia,” said Rosenfeld. “We look forward to working with the administration, policymakers, and all stakeholders to make these goals a reality. Our membership is poised to bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to meeting Virginia’s energy challenges.”
The VAEEC was tapped by the administration to present at each of the listening sessions convened across the state to gather input during development of the plan. The Chair of the VAEEC, Cynthia Adams, was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Virginia Energy Council, representing both the VAEEC and the nonprofit Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP). The VEC provided feedback to DMME throughout the plan’s creation.
The Energy Plan, which will be formally presented at an event October 14, will be explored in detail as a featured agenda item at the VAEEC Fall membership meeting, which will be held two days later on October 16, 2:00pm, at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. The meeting is open to everyone; click here to register.
The VAEEC is a broad coalition working to assess and support programs, innovation, best practices and policies that grow Virginia’s energy efficiency industry and to provide a forum for stakeholder interaction. The membership includes businesses of all sizes, utilities, nonprofits, universities and local governments.