Home Climate change Dulles Airport Goes Solar: This Progress Brought to You by Democrats!

Dulles Airport Goes Solar: This Progress Brought to You by Democrats!

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By Kindler

Imagine a traveler whose introduction to Northern Virginia was seeing the glint of thousands of solar panels at Dulles  Airport while landing there. Not a bad first impression, eh?

This lovely dream is about to become reality.  This past week, Dominion Energy and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) broke ground on a project to cover Dulles in 200,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels estimated to generate at least 100 megawatts (MW) of power – enough to provide clean energy to over 37,000 homes and businesses. It will be the biggest such project at a US airport ever – the solar installation, at 835 acres, actually exceeding the entire size of Washington National Airport.

These panels will be installed on unused land at the airport – with another 1 MW coming from solar carports that will be built over Dulles’ vast parking lots, a brilliant use of space that will not only generate energy for the airport itself but also provide shade to those parking there.  Under the unique deal that these entities worked out, Dominion provides these panels plus 18 electric transit buses, 50 electric fleet vehicles, and electric charging infrastructure – in lieu of paying rent for the land the utility will be using.

The smart planning also includes 50 MW of energy storage – because, yes, MAGA troll, we understand that PV panels don’t generate energy when the sun isn’t shining, but we also have a solution to the problem – store that power for when we can use it later!

And, as a Dominion spokesman points out, the economic development benefits of this project are significant:

“First and foremost, this is clean energy for Northern Virginia customers. No. 2, the project is going to create more than 300 construction jobs. No. 3, it’s going to generate about $200 million of spending in the local economy. This is spending on materials, equipment, supplies, labor, all of the costs that you would typically associate with a major construction project.”

The Northern Virginia Magazine article also notes that in 2024, the project is projected to generate new tax revenue of at least $500,000 for Loudoun County.

Basically, everyone wins, include those who lives won’t be destroyed or ended by even more out-of-control climate change than we’re suffering from now.

But let’s be honest – NONE of this would have happened without the clean energy advocacy of Democrats at the federal, state and local levels.  The big driver here is the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), which passed only because both the General Assembly and Governor’s office were in the hands of Democrats in 2020. This fact is proven both by the party line vote with which VCEA passed and Republicans’ desperate, failed efforts to repeal it ever since.

Gov. Youngkin and the rest of the Virginia GOP have continually announced and demonstrated their intent to eliminate not just the VCEA but also the Clean Car Standard that Democrats passed as well as to pull Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which Youngkin is working quite illegally to do as we speak.

The Dulles solar project also happened thanks to the national leadership of President Biden and Congressional Democrats in passing the Inflation Reduction Act, which offers solar investment and production tax credits that help cover a portion of the installation costs and create tax relief to advance it.

So there you have it: Democrats deliver genuine progress toward a cleaner, healthier future, whereas Republicans fight to hurl us back to the days of coal barons stripping the land bare and choking our skies with black, toxic smoke pouring out of poorly regulated power plants.

Which vision do you prefer? And if the former, sunnier one, what are you going to do to make sure it prevails?

 

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