The following press release is from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office. I’d say this is good in and of itself, but that we need to do many, many times more than this – and quickly. We also need to be retrofitting all state facilities to be as energy efficient as possible, since energy efficiency is the cheapest “form” of energy…the power you never have to produce in the first place. Finally, I’d point out that allowing two huge, new fracked-gas pipelines (the equivalent of 45 new coal-fired power plants) is totally inconsistent with and will far more than negate adding one megawatt of solar; it’s basically like giving someone a cookie with one hand and then taking hundreds (thousands?) of cookies away with the other hand. That’s simply not gonna cut it. Unless you really, really hate cookies or something. 😉
Governor Northam Announces Three New Solar Installations on State Facilities
~ Projects total over one megawatt in size and will offset up to 26 percent of agency energy needs ~
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the installation of three new solar energy projects located at the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy office in Big Stone Gap, the Virginia Public Safety Training Center in Hanover, and the Haynesville Correctional Center on Virginia’s Northern Neck. These projects will produce power onsite and will offset energy costs for the agencies. Governor Northam first announced the planned installation of solar energy systems at several state facilities in December 2018. Last month, the Governor unveiled the new solar facility at the Department of Forestry’s headquarters in Charlottesville.
“By offsetting the energy needs of our state agencies, Virginia is truly leading by example and deploying renewable energy where it will both reduce costs and create new jobs,” said Governor Northam. “Solar energy is a rapidly growing segment of our economy, and I am proud that the Commonwealth is playing a role in driving this demand and taking advantage of the benefits that this resource provides.”
“The Commonwealth’s agencies are well-positioned to demonstrate what many private businesses already know: that solar energy is a worthy investment,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These installations will result in a significant savings to the taxpayers of Virginia, and we hope they will pave the way for more solar development projects both in the public and private sectors.”
The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) provided technical and procurement assistance to the agencies. The three projects include a 140 kilowatt (kW) roof-mounted system at DMME’s Big Stone Gap office that will offset half of the office’s energy needs, a 300 kW ground-mounted system at the Virginia Public Safety Training Center in Hanover that will offset 26 percent of the campus’s energy needs, and a 660 kW ground-mounted system at Haynesville Correctional Center that will offset 16 percent of the facility’s energy needs.
“Our agency focuses on conserving energy and supporting a productive economy, and these solar installations accomplish both goals,” said DMME Director John Warren. “We are proud to be officially commissioning our own solar project at our office in Big Stone Gap.”
“We at Haynesville are constantly striving to be innovative, not only in correctional practices but with strong environmental programs as well,” said Warden Darrell Miller. “The solar facility at Haynesville Correctional Center is the largest in the Virginia Department of Corrections. We are proud that we can provide great examples of sustainability, renewable energy, and fiscal responsibility to the Commonwealth.”
“The Department of Juvenile Justice is always pleased to embrace clean technology as we seek to provide utilities for our facilities,” said Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Director Valerie Boykin. “The solar project at the Virginia Public Safety Training Center will be especially useful for the facility’s role in Virginia’s emergency response plan.”