Virginia state legislature delivers on energy efficiency | U.S. Green Building Council
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The Grid Transformation and Security Act directs electric utilities to make significant investments in energy efficiency projects.

Energy efficiency scored a big win last month in Virginia. The Grid Transformation and Security Act, signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, directs electric utilities to make significant investments in energy efficiency projects.

Among the legislation’s many provisions is a requirement for Dominion and Appalachian Power—Virginia’s two largest utilities—to invest nearly $1.2 billion in energy efficiency projects over the next decade. This sum represents massive increases in current investment at the state level. New investments in the form of both new and expanded utility programs will yield long-term economic benefits for rate payers and for Virginia’s environment. The law also changes a key cost-effectiveness test that utility programs must meet for approval, opening up options for innovative programs for much of the state.

The legislation also significantly invests in renewable energy and grid modernization. Virginia’s largest utilities are now required to consider the use of combined heat and power (CHP) as a demand-side energy efficiency measure or a supply-side generation alternative. CHP is a low-cost option for making Virginia’s energy grid more resilient and reducing emissions.

The commitments to renewable energy and energy efficiency in this bill represent a major step forward and will continue recent momentum in the state on energy efficiency. In 2017, Virginia was on the list of top 10 states for LEED for the ninth year in a row. The state also moved up on the annual energy efficiency state ranking by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and was listed by ACEEE as one of the most improved states last year.

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