Tidewater Current





Original Content & Curated News Featuring Sustainable Endeavors in Coastal Virginia & beyond.

McAuilffe Signs Executive Directive 11 Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Electric Power Facilites and Growing Virginia's Clean Energy Economy In Alexandria, VA, May 16, 2017 - Governor Terry McAullife signs Executive Directive 11: REDUCING CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS FROM ELECTRIC POWER FACILITIES AND GROWING VIRGINIA’S CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY - Image: Michael White

Virginia Governor Takes Climate Action

Posted 17 May 2017 by Carol Brighton

Touted as a "Clean Energy Initiative," Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order on Tuesday, May 16 to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Referring to climate change, the Governor notes that, "as the federal government abdicates its role on this important issue, it is critical for states to fill the void. ... Virginia will lead the way to cut carbon and lean in on the clean energy future." Executive Directive 11 calls for the promulgation of a regulation for the State Air Pollution Control Boards's consideration that will control carbon dioxide emissions from the main source, electric utilities, by December 31, 2017.

In the Directive the governor recognizes the unfair burden coastal communities face as the climate changes. With over 10,000 miles of tidal shoreline, more than any of the lower 48 states, Virginia residents sit on the frontline of climate change related sea level rise. The Governor reports that "rising storm surges and flooding could impact as many as 420,000 properties along Virginia’s coast that would require $92 billion of reconstruction costs. The challenges and costs of bolstering resilience and minimizing risk are too great for any locality to bear alone. While the impacts are significant, there are technologies in the clean energy sector that could help mitigate these impacts while simultaneously creating jobs in twenty-first century industries."

Amazon 80 MW Solar Farm in Accomack County VA

Due to demand for clean energy, the solar industry is experiencing rapid expansion in the Commonwealth. The working group report cites Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy data indicating 1800 MW of solar energy are currently in operation or under development in Virginia (much of that number must be in development). As a result, solar jobs increased 65% in 2016 over that of 2015. Image: 80 MW Amazon Solar Farm East in Accomack, VA developed by Community Energy Solar

The Directive is based on the recommendations of a working group established by the governor in June of 2016. Members included heads of state offices including Natural Resources, Commerce and Trade, Mines, Minerals and Energy, and Environmental Quality. The group's mandate was to facilitate clean energy job creation and reduce polluting carbon emissions. After monthly public meetings with stakeholders, a final report was released by the group on May 12, 2017. The groups number 1 action item listed is carbon dioxide emission limits.

According to an opinion issued by the state Attorney General, Mark Herring, the Air Pollution Control Board does indeed have broad authority to regulate green house gas pollution from electric facilities. He states that "the board is authorized to regulate "air pollution," which is defined as "the presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more substances which are or may be harmful or injurious to human health, welfare or safety, to animal or plant life, or to property, or which unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment by the people of life or property." He adds that "it is well settled that GHGs fall within this definition and goes on to conclude that"the Board also has the authority to establish a cap on green house gas emissions for all new and existing fossil fuel electric generating plants."

The Governor's order will remain in force unless amended or rescinded by a future executive directive. With a gubernatorial election this year, an amendment or recision is certainly possible. In order to keep Virginia on a clean energy path and enjoy the climate and economic benefits thereof, the people need to voice their opinions at the ballot box in November.

Read More Tidewater Renewable Energy Posts HERE

Prior Climate related features include:

The Climate Cure: Balancing Earth's Carbon Equilibrium by Transforming a Liability into a Commodity

Designing a Coastal Future in the Face of Sea Level Rise

With the Support of Pharrell, Climate Action is a Hot Topic this Winter

Adapting the Built Environment for Sea Level Rise






Check the Archive for Previous Posts

All Rights Reserved: Disclaimer

Top of Page