Virginia

VIRGINIA

Virginia is located on the East Coast of the United States, midway between the southern tip of Florida and the northern coast of Maine. The state stretches almost 430 miles west to east and includes the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay. The coastal plain that occupies the eastern part of Virginia includes the nation’s largest coal export port. To the west, the flat coastal plain meets the rolling hills and basins of the Piedmont region along a boundary known as the Fall Line because it is characterized by rapids and waterfalls. However, most of the state’s hydroelectric power plants are further west, where the rolling hills of the Piedmont rise into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The valleys and ridges that occupy the western part of the state are parallel to the spine of the Appalachian Mountains and, along with the Appalachian Plateau, contain most of the state’s coal, the primary energy resource produced in Virginia. The Appalachian Plateau, which cuts across the southwestern corner of Virginia, also holds almost all the state’s crude oil and natural gas fields. Nearly two-thirds of Virginia is forested, and the state’s widely distributed forests hold abundant biomass resources. Virginia has offshore wind energy potential as well. Uranium, the source for nuclear fuel, has been discovered near the state’s southern border. The deposit, although not developed, may be one of the nation’s largest.

Natural gas fueled 60% of Virginia’s electricity generated in 2019 with nuclear supplying 30%, renewables 6% (which includes hydroelectric, biomass and a bit of solar).

Virginia’s climate is changing. Most of the state has warmed about one degree in the last century, and Virginia is one of seven states in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to have record sweltering heat in July, 2020. Predictions are that by 2050, the typical number of heat days will increase from more than 10 days to nearly 60 days a year. Temperatures are not the only noteworthy statistic in Virginia. The sea is rising one to two inches every decade. Higher water levels are eroding beaches, submerging low lands, exacerbating coastal flooding, and increasing the salinity of estuaries and aquifers. And, in 2020 two Virginia cities experienced their wettest year on record. In the southwestern part of the state the city of Lynchburg picked up nearly 70 inches of rain, surpassing 2018 as the wettest on record.  It was also 0.1 degree shy of their warmest year on record. Things played out similarly in the city of Roanoke, which saw nearly 63 inches of rain beating the previous record from 2018.  Roanoke also tied 2012 and 2019 for the warmest year on record, with an average temperature of 59.5 degrees.

Any doubt about the state’s long-term commitment to renewable energy faded when Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act in April 2020. Not only does it require Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power to be carbon-free by 2045 and 2050 respectively, but it also specifies that having a target of 16.7 gigawatts of solar power produced in Virginia would be in the “public interest.” Additionally, the bill promises to make the state a leader in offshore wind and in energy storage, to shutter nearly all of its coal-fired power plants,  and includes provisions to cap energy bills for low-income households. By August, the governor officially joined the Regional Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-invest program in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic that places a limit on electricity sector emissions. Virginia is the first southern state to join.

The largest utility in Virginia, Dominion Energy began its response by divesting its natural gas holdings in November 2020 and then selling its Questar Pipeline subsidiary in October 2021. Dominion Chair, President and CEO Robert M. Blue said in a statement. “This transaction represents another significant step in our evolution as a company, allowing us to focus even more on fulfilling the energy needs of our utility customers and continuing growth of our clean-energy portfolio, including development of the largest offshore wind farm in North America.” Dominion also responded with solar and batteries, proposing 15 new energy projects and 32 third-party power purchase agreements, including 11 utility-scale solar projects, a standalone battery energy storage project, and a collaboration between Dominion and the Nature Conservancy to develop one of the first utility-scale solar projects on former surface mines in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia.

Five years ago, there were no utility-scale solar facilities in Virginia. Since then, they have exploded. In 2020, more than 1.4 gigawatts of solar were installed, making Virginia 4th in the country (behind only California, Texas and Florida). With this growth has come a building friction between the state’s ambitious renewable energy goals and the desire of many rural communities to preserve productive farmland and, their agricultural heritage.

Virginia is one of twenty-four states, along with Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, which is working to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

Virginia Seeks Millions of Dollars in Federal Funds Aimed at Reducing Pollution and Electrifying Transportation and Buildings

By Jake Bolster 04/01/24
Virginia is seeking millions of dollars in federal funds this month for state and local government programs to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. The state outlined its most urgent emissions-reduction strategies in a Priority Climate…
Read more

Virginia wildfire map: See where fires are blazing as some areas deal with road closures

By Gabe Hauari 03/21/24
Wildfires broke out in northern and northwestern Virginia Wednesday, and the National Weather Service says Thursday's conditions could bring "increased fire danger" as well.
Read more

Virginia Lawmakers Try to Use Budget to Rejoin RGGI – But Success Is Questionable

By Hannah Chanatry 03/16/24
Closed-door negotiations during Virginia’s budget process may have undercut lawmakers’ plans to rejoin a regional emissions reduction program. State lawmakers on Saturday approved a $65.5 billion budget proposal that includes an amendment demanding state agencies…
Read more

Teen plaintiffs ask Virginia Court of Appeals to allow climate change suit

By Brad Kutner 03/12/24
A group of Virginia teens argued for their right to a livable environment at the Virginia Court of Appeals Tuesday morning.
Read more

Climate change education legislation in Virginia advances

02/16/24
Virginia's House Bill 1088, which would require the state board of education to aid local school boards with instructional materials on climate change and environmental literacy, passed the House of Delegates on a 53-46 vote…
Read more

Virginia Lawmakers Show Historic Support for Critical Environmental Issues

02/15/24
Virginia state lawmakers marked the midpoint of their 60-day legislative session on February 13 with historic support for environmental issues.
Read more

Dominion project gets final permitsDominion wind project gets final 2 permits

By Dave Ress Ricmond 01/31/24
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued its final approval of Dominion's construction and operations plan. This is a detailed plan for building and operating an offshore facility that the bureau reviews for its…
Read more

2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project Gets Final Federal Go-Ahead to Begin Construction

By Adnan Memija 01/30/24
Dominion Energy has received the last two major federal approvals needed to begin construction of its 2.6 GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach in the…
Read more

Climate change education legislation in Virginia

01/12/24
Virginia's House Bill 1088, prefiled on January 10, 2024, by Betsy B. Carr (D-District 78), would, if enacted, require the state board of education to aid local school boards with instructional materials on climate change…
Read more

Major Flooding Across Chesapeake Bay Watershed Highlights Need for Lasting Solutions From MD and VA Legislators

01/09/24
Today, communities across the Chesapeake Bay watershed are experiencing severe coastal flooding. Strong onshore flow, mixed with heavy rainfall and high winds, is resulting in significant flooding and erosion along the coast, streams, and creeks…
Read more

Yes, this sinking island in Virginia is being threatened by climate change

By Kaitlyn McGrath 12/13/23
Tangier Island sits in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay between the Eastern Shore and the Northern Neck of Virginia, accessible only by boat or a small plane. Everyone knows everyone, cars are replaced by…
Read more

The federal government released its latest climate report. Here’s what it says about Virginia.

By Eliza Noe 11/22/23
The federal government released its latest National Climate Assessment, the first since 2018. Scientists from across the country contributed, detailing the country’s current climate risks.
Read more

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Firefly Solar Announces Exciting Expansion into Virginia

03/13/24
Firefly Solar is elated to announce our expansion into Virginia, marking a new chapter in our mission to deliver renewable energy solutions. This growth reflects our ongoing success and the broadening of our service areas…

Grown Here at Home: Virginia Tech receives $80M grant to accelerate climate-smart agriculture

03/04/24
Virginia Tech has received a record $80 million grant to pilot the Alliance to Advance Climate-Smart Agriculture program. It rewards producers for implementing climate-smart practices on their farms.

Renewable Energy Initiative Could Help More Virginia Farmers Implement Underutilized Technologies Like Wind Power

02/27/24
Agricultural producers in the commonwealth could soon benefit from a new initiative the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are launching today to help farmers cut costs and increase income…

Virginia outlines vision to decarbonize industries, move to clean energy

02/23/24
Virginia has outlined a sweeping new path forward to cut climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions and transition to renewable energy.

Wind Power Is Taking Over A West Virginia Coal Town. Will The Residents Embrace It?

02/21/24
Keyser, West Virginia, was once known for coal. But the jobs have been disappearing. First because of automation, then cheap natural gas. And now, the urgency to address climate change is one more pressure on…

Virginia lawmakers delay decision on Dominion Energy’s offshore wind monopoly

02/15/24
Renewable energy advocates have vowed to double down next year on legislation designed to enable competition with Dominion Energy on offshore wind projects serving Virginia.

Port of Virginia says it’s now using 100% clean energy

01/25/24
Hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo move through the Port of Virginia each day, handled by massive pieces of equipment like cranes, forklifts and straddle carriers.

State would gain power to approve large solar and wind projects over local objections under proposed legislation

01/24/24
A pair of Virginia lawmakers want to give state regulators more authority to sign off on proposed large solar, wind and battery storage projects if such projects face certain local hurdles.

Virginia Climate Resiliency Efforts Advance in General Assembly

01/23/24
Multiple efforts progressing in the Virginia General Assembly would strengthen the state’s carbon emission reduction and adaption work. These proposals would lead to significant advancement in the Commonwealth’s resilience to climate change risks.

Climate Change in the EPA Mid-Atlantic Region

01/19/24
The impacts of climate change in the Mid-Atlantic Region have the potential to harm human health, disrupt livelihoods, and damage property, including the infrastructure and ecosystems that provide crucial services across the region. Recent news…

Virginia legislation aims to unleash competition to speed progress on clean electricity

01/19/24
Newly empowered Virginia Democrats are pushing legislation this session that would elevate the role of customers and private developers in meeting the state’s clean energy targets.

Siting Renewable Energy Projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia: Why State Law Implementation Remains Stalled at the Local Level

01/11/24
Compared to other regions, the Southeast’s vertically integrated utility business environment dampens project development interest from independent power producers. However, a binding renewable energy statute sends a market signal to developers that the state is…

Feds pitch Virginia on loan opportunities for renewable energy transition

12/11/23
The federal government is pitching Virginia on loan opportunities to help pay for the state’s transition to renewables, saying federal funding can reduce the financial burden passed on to ratepayers.

Driving Clean Transportation Forward in Virginia

12/06/23
NRDC's new national report, a snapshot of each state’s decisions on transportation-related policies and investments, ranks the Commonwealth 18th out of 50. The Scorecard ranks each U.S. state on a number of different metrics, including…

Sky NRG Solar Inc.: Pioneering Clean Energy Solutions in Reston, Virginia

06/16/23
Reston, Virginia, is home to a forward-thinking company at the forefront of the clean energy revolution—Sky NRG Solar Inc. With its commitment to sustainable solutions and cutting-edge solar technologies, Sky NRG Solar is reshaping the…

Dominion reviving plans to build a natural gas peaker plant in Chesterfield

06/14/23
Dominion is reviving pre-pandemic plans to build a natural gas peaker plant in Chesterfield County as part of its recently announced strategy to invest in more gas generation to meet growing grid demand in the…

HOW VIRGINIA TOOK ON DOMINION ENERGY

06/13/23
This is an old-fashioned story about monopoly power, dirty money, bipartisan corruption, consumer exploitation, and what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called “the curse of bigness.” It’s also the story of a recent victory over…

Virginia repurposes old mines for renewable development

06/07/23
State officials believe they can turn an epidemic of mine closures to their advantage by developing a growing number of abandoned properties into renewable energy hubs, leveraging millions of new funds to bring private developers…

Dominion Energy submits request to City of Richmond to withdraw from ‘clean energy park’ proposal

06/01/23
Dominion Energy has started the official process to cancel the “”Clean Energy Park” proposal for electric vehicle charging in downtown Richmond.

A backed-up grid threatens clean energy growth from Virginia to Illinois

05/30/23
Backlogged power grids could be the biggest barrier to meeting U.S. decarbonization goals — and the grid operators in charge of clearing those backlogs and expanding grid capacity for solar, wind and battery projects are…

Virginia community solar boosters hope state follows path of D.C., Maryland

05/16/23
Despite setbacks, community solar advocates in Virginia remain upbeat that recent policy breakthroughs in neighboring Maryland and the District of Columbia will benefit their case in the next legislative session.

Port of Virginia goes all in on renewable energy sources to fulfill green supply-chain demand, CEO says

04/28/23
At the behest of its suppliers and customers, the Virginia Port Authority is pushing ahead on a plan to go fully carbon-neutral by 2040. That means the group will purchase all of its power used…

Dominion’s renewable projects approved by regulators despite cost concerns

04/14/23
Dominion’s regulators on Friday approved a suite of renewable energy projects proposed by the utility in a move that goes against State Corporation Commission staff’s recommendation to deny two projects because of cost concerns.

Virginia enacts multiple laws aimed at developing SMRs

03/29/23
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed multiple bills into Virginia law in the last week intended to promote the development of small modular reactors (SMRs).

Solar farms in southwest and central Virginia cited for environmental violations

03/29/23
A company that built and is now operating seven solar farms across southwest and central Virginia has been cited for violating state regulations meant to control erosion and sedimentation.

Appalachian Power releases annual clean energy plan

03/24/23
Smith Mountain Lake is widely known as one of Virginia’s most popular recreation destinations, but it also serves another important purpose – providing electricity to thousands through its Appalachian Power hydroelectricity dam. Hydroelectric energy, or…

Virginia General Assembly split on whether to pursue nuclear power more aggressively

03/13/23
When Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin unveiled his energy plan this fall that pushed for the development of small modular nuclear reactors in the state within a decade, critics were quick to call the goal overambitious…

Dominion ‘on track’ with $9.8 bln Virginia offshore wind farm

02/09/23
Dominion Energy Inc (D.N) executives said on Wednesday that the electric utility's $9.8 billion offshore Virginia wind farm is on track and on budget, having recently entered a critical phase of the environmental review process.

Virginia Senate passes competing energy legislation

02/08/23
The Democrat-controlled Virginia Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would adjust the way state regulators set and oversee Dominion Energy's electric rates and profitability.

Advocates, Dominion clash again over utility reform legislation in Virginia

01/30/23
Competing bills could help determine how much customers pay for Dominion Energy’s clean energy transition. <strong>Advocates, Dominion clash again over utility reform legislation in Virginia</strong> is an article from Energy News Network, a nonprofit news…

In Virginia, carbon emissions drop as data centers boom, thanks to RGGI pact

01/16/23
An environmental policy professor explains how the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is helping Virginia lower its emissions amid a data center building spree that’s expected to drive a 38% increase in electricity use by 2035.…

Virginia approves 1 GW solar and energy storage expansion by Dominion Energy

03/17/22
The Virginia State Corporation Commission has given Dominion Energy the green light on a planned 1,000 MW renewable energy expansion, including what will become Dominion Energy Virginia’s largest solar-plus-storage project to date.

Va. to end ‘carbon tax’ as emissions reduced from cleaner power

03/17/22
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed Executive Order 9 on Jan. 15 to direct the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) to examine the impact of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and “start the process of…

Giant, turbine-installing ship is Dominion Energy’s $500M bet on U.S. offshore wind

03/08/22
Shipbuilders in the port city of Brownsville, Texas, are nearing the halfway mark on shaping 14,000 tons of steel into a vessel designed to ensure the country’s gamble on offshore wind is less dicey.

In Virginia, abandoned coal mines are transformed into solar farms

03/03/22
In 2019, the Nature Conservancy acquired 253,000 acres of forest in the central Appalachian Mountains that it calls the Cumberland Forest Project. It’s one small part of the group’s efforts in the mountain range, which…

RFP Alert: Appalachian Power seeks 150MW of West Virginia solar

02/17/22
West Virginia utility Appalachian Power released an RFP requesting 150MW of solar capacity in the state. Eligible projects must be at least 50MW in capacity, with the option to include a battery-energy storage system.

Virginia clean energy job training program climbs its own learning curve

01/25/22
The hands-on solar panel lesson for rookies at Sankofa Community Orchard in mid-January might have been a bust if student Mary Lewis hadn’t shown up with her A-game — and her F-150 pickup truck.

How to address climate locally? These 6 places have plans

01/05/22
While much of the nation’s attention to climate adaptation has focused on large coastal cities with outsize risks, some of the most forward-leaning climate policies are coming from less urbanized places such as Marina, Calif.;…

Groups urge bigger targets, more equity as RGGI states consider changes

12/21/21
As the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI, undergoes a thorough review by participating states, environmental advocates are demanding more ambitious emission reduction targets and a mandate for equitable distribution of the revenues.

Virginia adopts bold clean energy law

11/02/21
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act Saturday, enacting bold legislation that will require zero-carbon generation of all energy in the state by 2050. This landmark legislation, which SELC worked hard to…

Virginia Joins the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Finally

11/02/21
In a tweet this July, Governor Ralph Northam announced Virginia’s determination to tackle climate change by officially joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-invest program in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic that places a…

Rural counties wrestle with solar power demands from Northern Virginia

10/11/21
The Fauquier County Planning Commission has rejected two proposals to build utility solar fields on farmland in the county. The Culpeper County Board of Supervisors voted down a plan to construct a solar field covering…

Dominion Energy to sell Questar Pipeline to Southwest Gas for $1.9B

10/05/21
Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc. has reached an agreement to sell its Questar Pipeline subsidiary to Las Vegas-based Southwest Gas Holdings Inc. for $1.975 billion, the Fortune 500 utility announced Tuesday.

Utility Dominion continues push towards Virginia clean energy targets with solar and batteries

09/20/21
US utility company Dominion Energy Virginia has proposed 15 new energy projects and 32 third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs), totalling 1GW of power, which Dominion Energy claimed was the largest group of clean energy projects…

Dominion acquires 20MW Virginia battery

09/17/21
Dominion Energy Virginia has acquired the 20MW Dry Bridge energy storage project from East Point Energy for an undisclosed price.  

Dominion proposes 1 GW of new Virginia solar + storage by 2023

09/16/21
Dominion Energy Virginia, in its annual clean energy filing with state regulators, has proposed a 1 GW portfolio of new solar and energy storage projects in the state to make progress toward the goals of…

The Nature Conservancy, Dominion Energy Announce Innovative Collaboration for Solar Development on Former Coal Mine in Southwest Virginia

09/13/21
The Nature Conservancy and Dominion Energy Virginia today announced an innovative collaboration to develop one of the first utility-scale solar projects on former surface mines in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia.

U.S. solar developers see opportunity in America’s post-industrial lands

By Dan Rhys and Nichola Groom 06/23/21
 On a recent spring morning, coal mine operator Dale Murray stood atop a stretch of land in western Virginia that had been dozed flat by mountaintop strip mining, and he enjoyed the panoramic view it…

Appalachian Power contract with public authority customers to include renewable energy programs, other new services

By Chris Galford 06/22/21
Finalization of a new four-year contract between Appalachian Power and public authority customers, including schools and governments, was reached last week, ensuring access to renewable energy programs and other new services in Virginia.

Dominion Energy Virginia Customers to Benefit from a Stronger Grid, Expansion of Renewable Energy

06/22/21
Dominion Energy Virginia customers will continue to experience more reliable service, new tools to manage energy usage, and greater access to clean energy sources as efforts continue on the Company's ten-year plan to transform the…

What will it take to modernize Virginia’s public transit systems?

By Wayatt Gordon 06/15/21
A bus stop in a bucket is by no means representative of the average amenities provided by transit systems across the commonwealth, but the all-too-common sight is far from befitting 21st century public transportation.

Harnessing the wind: Historic offshore wind project now producing energy off Virginia Beach coast

By Andy Fox 06/14/21
Dominion Energy is investing billions of dollars to change the energy equation in Hampton Roads, Virginia and the United States as a whole.

Appalachian offers all-renewable electricity to its customers — for a price

By Laurence Hammack 06/05/21
Two years ago, Appalachian Power Co. offered a deal to its customers: For an extra $4.25 a month, all of their electricity would come from wind, water and sunlight.

HB 1965 State Air Pollution Control Board; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program.

By Lamont Bagby 05/11/21
State Air Pollution Control Board; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program. Directs the State Air Pollution Control Board to implement a low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program for motor vehicles with a model year of 2025 and later.…

A Year After Clean Economy Act, VA Sees Renewable Jobs Expand

By Diane Bernard 05/04/21
One year after Virginia adopted its Clean Economy Act, workforce development and new jobs in clean energy are booming in the state, as its economy expands into renewable-energy industries.

McAuliffe releases plan to address climate change, secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035

By Chris Graham 03/25/21
Terry McAuliffe is back at it with bold plans, the latest promising to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2035, aligning Virginia with President Biden’s climate goals.

McAuliffe releases plan to address climate change, secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035

By Chris Graham 03/25/21
Terry McAuliffe is back at it with bold plans, the latest promising to reach 100 percent clean energy by 2035, aligning Virginia with President Biden’s climate goals. “Climate change is one of the greatest threats to…

HB 1965 State Air Pollution Control Board; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program.

By Lamont Bagby 01/11/21
State Air Pollution Control Board; low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program. Directs the State Air Pollution Control Board to implement a low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program for motor vehicles with a model year of 2025 and…

Preparing for Climate Change in Virginia

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps Virginia is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Virginia enacts Clean Economy Act – Renewable Energy Standards and Carbon Free Future Achievable

By Duane Morris 08/20/20
On August 17, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (the “VCE Act”), which establishes mandatory energy efficiency standards and provides a pathway for new investments in solar, onshore wind, offshore wind, and energy storage.

Virginia’s Strategy for Safeguarding Species of Greatest Conservation Need from the Effects of Climate Change

04/11/19
From the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Conservation Network, and the National Wildlife Federation, this report is to be appended to Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan. It forms the basis for wildlife inventory…

Virginia Climate Change and Resilience Commission Report to the Governor

04/10/19
In December 2015, the Virginia Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission issued its report and final recommendations to then Governor Terry McAuliffe. The report identifies the Commission's top five recommendations for climate action in the…

KEY RESOURCES

Virginia State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/19/21
Virginia is located on the East Coast of the United States, midway between the southern tip of Florida and the northern coast of Maine. The state stretches almost 430 miles west to east and includes…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

10/06/20
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Virginia

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Virginia experienced three tropical cyclones, six severe storms, two winter storms, and one freeze. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Virginia

08/07/20
Virginia Climate and Energy Facts

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

02/28/20
Virginia’s diverse geography and abundant natural resources benefit agriculture, industry and commerce and provide a rich environment for people, plants and wildlife. To ensure the continued vitality of what the Commonwealth has to offer, the…

The Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance

02/28/20
Advancing renewable energy at all levels in Virginia through finding common ground and serving as an authoritative resource.

VIMS Initiative for Coastal Climate Change Research

02/13/20
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) of the College of William and Mary is committed to conducting state-of-the-art scientific research focused on marine and adjacent coastal components of the Earth system. Many of the Institute's research…

Climate Change and Virginia Forests

02/13/20
The world’s forests, including the forests of Virginia, play a large, positive role in the climate change issue. Reports estimate that forest tree growth in Virginia sequesters 6.42 million metric tons of carbon each year…

MORE NEWS

Natural Gas Power Plant Project for Eastern Va. Is Scrapped

By Associated Press   03/20/22  
A natural gas power plant project in eastern Virginia has been scrapped, a month after plans for a pipeline running through five counties to fuel it were put on hold following a regulatory ruling, and…
Read more

Virginia Governor Tilting At Windmills, Releases Bogus RGGI ‘Report’

By NRDC   03/20/22  
Incoming Virginia Gov. Youngkin in January tasked his Special Advisor and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler with producing an assessment of Virginia’s overwhelmingly popular climate law — the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as…
Read more

Virginia report lays groundwork for state’s exit from regional emissions trading group

By Robert Walton   03/18/22  
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R, says a new report from the state's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) proves that participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is "a bad deal" for residents and is…
Read more

Why Youngkin wants to get out of agreement combating climate change

By Jackie DeFusco   03/17/22  
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Governor Glenn Youngkin wants to pull Virginia out of an agreement to combat climate change, despite backlash from environmental advocates. A new report, ordered by one of Youngkin’s first executive actions, makes…
Read more

2022 legislative recap: virginia democrats won’t budge on combating climate change and protecting the environment

By Blue Virginia   03/16/22  
This session, Democrats went big and fought for generational investments in preserving and protecting our environment and funding the fight against climate change. Gov. Youngkin and Republicans attempted to roll back our progress and worsen…
Read more

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Too Expensive For Virginia, According To Youngkin Report

By Jacob Fenston   03/16/22  
For less than the price of a small, monthly Starbucks latte for each residential power customer, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative promises to cut emissions from power plants by 30% over the next decade, putting…
Read more

Attacking climate action is bad policy, even worse politics

By Christopher Leyen   03/08/22  
A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that we will see as much sea level rise in just the next three decades that we’ve experienced in the last century. In Hampton…
Read more

In Virginia, abandoned coal mines are transformed into solar farms

By Zoeann Murphy   03/03/22  
Empty freight cars line the railroad tracks as far as the eye can see from Tim Jennings’s backyard in Dante — a town of less than 600 residents. “They should open up some more new…
Read more

Experts: climate change impacting Navy base, other national security infrastructure in Hampton Roads

By Ali Weatherton   02/25/22  
NORFOLK, Va. — Climate change is a major concern for people around the world and right here in Hampton Roads. Experts say our region is vulnerable to sea-level rise. On Friday, Hampton Roads leaders along…
Read more

New Va. AG pulls out of Supreme Court climate case

By Lesley Clark   01/20/22  
Virginia has dropped out of a coalition of states urging the Supreme Court to find that EPA has broad authority to regulate power plant emissions. Attorney General Jason Miyares (R), who took office over the…
Read more

Why RGGI is a Good Deal for Virginians

By Mandy Warner   01/19/22  
With unprecedented droughts, wildfires, floods and heat waves impacting communities nationwide, it’s clear that climate change is not a threat in some distant future – we’re dealing with its ramifications today. Virginians know this well,…
Read more

Virginia okays Dominion’s plan to deploy 1.1M smart meters

By Jason Plautz   01/11/22  
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) on Friday approved Dominion Energy's proposal to deploy roughly 1.1 million smart meters as part of a $776 million grid transformation plan. The plan also includes investments in security,…
Read more

Groups urge bigger targets, more equity as RGGI states consider changes

By Lisa Prevost   12/21/21  
As the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI, undergoes a thorough review by participating states, environmental advocates are demanding more ambitious emission reduction targets and a mandate for equitable distribution of the revenues.
Read more

Climate change could make Virginia’s Tangier Island uninhabitable by 2051

By Trishla Ostwal   12/06/21  
Virginia’s Tangier Island is rapidly disappearing. Rising sea levels are exacerbating erosion and flooding, and could make the speck of land in the Chesapeake Bay uninhabitable within the next few decades. For years, island residents,…
Read more

Climate change could make Virginia’s Tangier Island uninhabitable by 2051

By Trishla Ostwal   12/06/21  
Virginia’s Tangier Island is rapidly disappearing. Rising sea levels are exacerbating erosion and flooding, and could make the speck of land in the Chesapeake Bay uninhabitable within the next few decades. For years, island residents,…
Read more

‘Bloody expensive.’ Major U.S. offshore wind plan hits obstacles

By Heather Richards   10/20/21  
Nearly 30 miles from shore, the two turbines spin deceptively slowly, alien steel giants fixed to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. But the lonely pair are just a hint of what Dominion Energy plans…
Read more

City of Richmond to receive grants addressing flooding issues

By NBC12 Newsroom   10/06/21  
The city of Richmond is getting more than $1 million dollars in grants addressing flooding concerns. The money will go toward the McGuire and Chapel Drive Drainage improvements project, as well as the Manchester and…
Read more

Virginia awards $7.8M in local grants for flood preparedness

By Tyler Arnold   10/05/21  
Virginia awarded about $7.8 million in state grants for 19 local projects designed to address flooding, sea-level rise and extreme weather, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday. Funding for the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund grants…
Read more

Landmark EJ ruling sparks legislative reckoning in Va.

By Niina H. Farah   10/04/21  
More than a year after a watershed federal court ruling, Virginia is becoming a case study of whether environmental justice protections can get enshrined into law, or be stymied by legislative and regulatory fights.
Read more

Cost of Change Part 1: Virginia Beach residents will determine fate of plan to mitigate flooding

By Steve Fundaro   10/04/21  
The City of Virginia Beach has a plan in place to mitigate the effects of climate change, but how fast that plan is completed will come into the hands of the residents in the upcoming…
Read more

Virginia Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy Changes Name

By WYDaily Staff   10/04/21  
On Friday, Oct. 1, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy adopted its new moniker, the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy). The move came after the General Assembly passed legislation for the name…
Read more

Hogan Signs Regional Climate Pact, Presses Md. Lawmakers on His Environmental Priorities

By Josh Kurtz   10/04/21  
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) traveled to Virginia Beach on Friday for the annual meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council, a regional policymaking body consisting of the governors of the six Bay watershed states,…
Read more

3 ways Virginia can continue to advance flood resilience statewide

By Emily Steinhilber   10/04/21  
Virginians are already seeing the impacts of climate change, from sea level rise along our coastlines to increased rainfall statewide. Without action, Virginians can expect $4.1 billion in annual losses to residential, commercial and public…
Read more

Hogan, Northam meet in Virginia Beach to announce climate change directive

By Brian Reese, Brett Hall   10/01/21  
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam met with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday to commit to action on climate change and more efforts to help restore the Chesapeake Bay.
Read more

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam joins coalition to address climate change in Chesapeake Bay

By 3News Now Staff   10/01/21  
A team of governors and environmentalists met at the Virginia Beach Brock Environmental Center Friday morning to talk about how to combat the effects of climate change on the Chesapeake Bay.
Read more

Meet the Virginia conservationist trying to turn old coalfields into solar farms

By Elizabeth McGowan   09/29/21  
Chatter about the potential of covering played-out coalfields in central Appalachia with solar arrays has simmered for years. Progress on the first pair of such projects is on the verge of coming to a full…
Read more

What Happens When the Sun Isn’t Shining? Virginia’s Need for Renewable Backups

By Michael Pope   09/27/21  
Virginia is in the midst of a transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. And, that transition will require new ways to store energy for when it's needed. Solar power is great when…
Read more

We need to protect communities hit ‘first and worst’ by climate change, state lawmakers say

By Erica Sweeney   09/25/21  
Low-income and indigenous communities as well as communities of color are hit "first and worst" by climate change, whether it's destructive hurricanes, droughts, or extreme heat, policymaker panelists said during a Climate Week NYC event…
Read more

Can Southwest Virginia remake itself as a laboratory for renewables?

By Sarah Vogelsong   09/20/21  
In September 2020, the highwall came crashing down. For decades, the more than 75-foot-high remnant of surface mining had dominated the eastern entry to Norton, looming over the intersection of Routes 23 and 58. Officials…
Read more

Northern Virginia officials wanted to tax plastic bags for years. And now they will.

By Teo Armus   09/19/21  
When Tim Lovain began pushing to limit Northern Virginia’s use of plastic bags in the mid-2000s, most local lawmakers hesitated to back him. “It felt a little lonely,” the former Alexandria City Council member said.…
Read more

Charlottesville church moves to renewable energy

By Madison McNamee   09/13/21  
St. Mark Lutheran Church just switched their primary power supply to renewable energy. This is now the largest non-profit owned solar system in Charlottesville and among the largest in the state. “The significant aspect of…
Read more

Virginia’s Coming Elections to Present Showdown Over Renewable Energy Mandates

By Collister Johnson, Jr.   08/31/21  
Last year, the Virginia Legislature passed, on a party line vote, a law misleadingly labeled the "Virginia Clean Economy Act" (VCEA). This bill radically changed Virginia's energy policy, which for many years supported a balanced…
Read more

Yes, Virginia, we are seeing more — and more intense — rainfall

By Sarah Vogelsong   08/20/21  
Record-setting rainfall in 2018. A month’s worth of water that drenched Northern Virginia in an hour in July 2019. Neighborhoods that flood repeatedly in Richmond’s Southside and Petersburg. In Virginia, conversations about climate change have…
Read more

Protesters arrested after rally against Mountain Valley Pipeline in Elliston

By Pat Thomas   08/09/21  
According to Appalachians Against Pipelines, ten people locked themselves to equipment in the Cove Hollow Road area to protect such things as fish and birds the group says are native species threatened by the MVP. All…
Read more

Support heat protections for Virginia workers

By John Ryan   06/17/21  
Extreme temperatures place outdoor workers at increased risk of heat illnesses, which if untreated, can lead to death. Even though I’m generally considered young and healthy, I have experienced heat illness first hand.
Read more

For Virginia, adapting to sea level rise starts with choosing a curve

By Sarah Vogelsong   06/15/21  
In a warming world of rapidly rising waters, there are at least nine possibilities for what tomorrow will look like at Sewells Point in Norfolk.
Read more

Contaminated water, land erosion, climate refugees: Historic Triangle, Tidewater regions could feel the secondary effects of coastal sea level rises

By EM Halter and Maggie Moore   06/11/21  
As land erosion and sea level rise continue to take a toll on America’s first settlements, underwater archaeologists have worked diligently in the past two decades to preserve artifacts left at the bottom of the…
Read more

It’s electric: W-JCC school division slides into renewable energy by adding electric buses to its fleet

By EM Holter   06/11/21  
A crowd quickly gathered in the growing summer heat Wednesday morning to watch as Williamsburg-James City County School Division Superintendent Olwen Herron and others plugged in the first of many of its electric school buses.
Read more

America’s second offshore wind farm completes construction

By Anmar Frangoul   06/03/21  
Construction work on the second offshore wind farm in the U.S. has been completed, with its two turbines installed and plans for a much larger project continuing to take shape.
Read more

Policymakers are banking on trees to cut carbon. Forest experts say Virginia needs more seedlings.

By Sarah Vogelsong   06/01/21  
In nine neat fields tucked between a bend of the South River and a Norfolk Southern line, a key piece of Virginia’s carbon-free future is taking shape.
Read more

Lots of ‘renewable’ options for energy consumers, but why are so few of them any good?

By Ivy Main   05/21/21  
Virginia residents who want to do right by the planet are confronted with a bewildering array of renewable energy and “green power” options. Unfortunately, few of these programs actually deliver renewable energy.
Read more

Google gets round-the-clock renewable energy at Virginia data centres with help of energy storage

By Andy Colthorpe   05/05/21  
Google will procure energy from a US$600 million portfolio of renewables and energy storage assets specially-designed to enable the search engine company’s data centres in Virginia to run on 90% carbon-free electricity.
Read more

Cville Launches Green Business Alliance

By Sandy Hausman   05/05/21  
Thirty percent of Fortune 500 companies have announced plans to cut carbon emissions, and now small businesses in Virginia are getting on board. The Community Climate Collaborative in Charlottesville announced formation of a Green Business…
Read more

Solar farm planned for former coal mine in Buchanan County

By Bristol Herald Courier   04/17/21  
 One of the largest solar farms in the Appalachian region is planned for a Buchanan County site on a reclaimed surface coal mine.
Read more

Council on Environmental Justice asks Northam to institute fossil fuel infrastructure ban

By Sarah Vogelsong   04/16/21  
The Virginia Council on Environmental Justice is asking Gov. Ralph Northam to issue a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects and permits in the state.
Read more

Richmond’s clean tech startups embrace industry momentum

By Kaitlynn R. Kopinger   04/15/21  
When Ashland’s Dominion Energy Innovation Center launched its first clean tech-focused accelerator last fall, one of the startups invited to participate was Longleaf Conservation Capital.
Read more

Daunting but confident: Dominion Energy takes on what will be the country’s largest offshore wind project

By Janet Roach   04/15/21  
 Ed Baine admits the massive undertaking of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is daunting and makes him a little nervous. But the Dominion Energy Virginia president says the benefits from the commitment to renewable energy far outweigh…
Read more

King George coal plant to be converted to solar and storage

By Sarah Vogelsong   04/14/21  
The owner of a former coal plant in King George County intends to redevelop the site as a solar and energy storage facility in another move by Virginia’s power sector away from fossil fuels to…
Read more

Southwest Virginia group wins grant to help companies move beyond coal

By Elizabeth McGowan   04/08/21  
Renewable energy jobs could well be on the rise in Southwest Virginia now that the region is on the receiving end of close to $500,000 sought by a couple of nonprofit go-getters.
Read more

This is How Much Renewable Energy Virginia is Producing

By Samuel Stebbins and Grant Suneson   04/01/21  
Currently, only 17.7% of electricity produced in the United States comes from renewable sources. Nationwide, wind turbines generate the most electricity, followed by hydroelectric power plants and solar thermal power. Biomass, such as wood and…
Read more