7 clean energy programs making an impact in Virginia

Photo by American Public Power Association/Unsplash

By Ava Edwards

May 17, 2024

Virginia is making big changes in its move toward clean energy. Both national and local projects are introducing more sustainable and affordable energy for Virginia households, schools, and businesses.

We’re outlining seven of the most helpful policies and nonprofits aiming to make Virginia environmentally friendly.

Solar for All

Part of the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Solar for All program works to expand the use of solar energy throughout the country. Solar for All’s mission is to bring solar power to low-income communities and households.

Solar panels are a more sustainable and overall affordable alternative to fossil fuels, but their installation is expensive and not accessible to every community. By using solar energy, Virginian households could save $400 in energy bills a year, which would benefit many who struggle financially throughout the state.

The EPA’s work with Solar for All attempts to bridge the gap in solar panel availability to save low-income families from expensive energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

American Climate Corps

The Biden Administration has revamped the American Climate Corps website, making it easier for young climate activists to apply for various positions.

The American Climate Corps is a government-based organization that pays young workers to combat climate change. This program has many jobs and positions, like rebuilding wetlands, protecting forests from wildfires, agricultural maintenance, and more.

For more information, or to apply for a planet-saving position head over to their website.

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind

With approval from the Biden administration, Dominion Energy began construction of the largest wind-powered energy project in the country. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project could be the future of clean energy, with 176 wind turbines being constructed off the coast of Virginia Beach. These turbines will power up to 660,000 homes, create hundreds of new jobs for the area, boost the local economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state.

This enormous project puts Virginia on the map as a pioneer for wind energy and provides a cost-effective and cleaner energy source for numerous communities.

Abandoned Mine Land Program

In the days before clean energy, Virginia was a leader in coal production. Since the sharp decline in coal use throughout the nation, many previous coal mining communities have faced economic hardship, leaving thousands of dangerous mines abandoned. Because of these issues, the Virginia Department of Energy is working to reclaim these abandoned coal mines and create new job opportunities for families who previously depended on the coal industry for income.

The state recently received $22.7 million for the Abandoned Mine Land Program, and local governments hope to revitalize communities affected by new clean energy practices.

Rural Energy for America Project

Virginia is participating in a nationwide effort to create sustainable energy for farms. The mission of the Rural Energy for America Project is to lower energy bills, generate new income opportunities, and create more jobs for rural communities by introducing clean energy.

The USDA is spearheading this project, and $157 million in funding is helping to bring wind, solar, and other sustainable energy practices to Virginia farms. Farms in James City and Amelia counties are already reaping the benefits of this program, and the local government hopes to help many more.

The Save Act

Virginians pay some of the highest energy bills in the country. About 17% of Virginians’ income goes toward these bills, which is where the Save Act comes in to help.

The Save Act is a project with the mission of increasing energy efficiency in Virginia homes and businesses. By replacing fossil-fueled and non-energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems from homes and businesses, this project hopes to help Virginians save money every month—and also help remove appliances that hurt the environment.

The Save Act aims to set a standard for the state in using cleaner appliances and reducing household pollution.

National Energy Education Development Project

With their headquarters in Manassas, the National Energy Education Development Project is dedicated to educating both Virginia’s and the nation’s students in clean and renewable energy. This organization trains teachers to bring clean energy into the classroom.

The project informs students about the future of infrastructure and primes the next generation’s enthusiasm for renewable energy. Recently, as a part of the program’s teachings, Kings Fork High School in Suffolk received new solar panels. This school’s new addition will teach students about solar energy, and help climate change and climate activism remain in Virginia schools.

  • Ava Edwards

    Ava is an up-and-coming journalist who recently graduated from William & Mary with a degree in English. She's written for news publications such as her school's newspaper, The Flat Hat, and Hampton Roads' WAVY-TV 10. As a lifelong Virginia resident, she looks forward to informing her community on the latest information and events.

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