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Virginia's Renewable Energy Policy Under Review

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One point of disagreement between Dominion and environmentalists is the role that solar power should play in Virginia's renewable energy plan.
Matt Bush
One point of disagreement between Dominion and environmentalists is the role that solar power should play in Virginia's renewable energy plan.

An environmental group and the Virginia's largest utility are calling for changes to the law governing the state's energy production.

The 2007 Electric Utility Re-Regulation Act was a huge bill — part of it focused on trying to get utilities to use more renewable energy. Beth Kemler, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, says that hasn't really worked out. 

"The biggest problem is that the law was intended to spur the development of new renewable energy in Virginia, and instead, the companies are able to fulfill the goals and get the associated financial benefits without actually investing in any new energy," Kemler says.

Kemler says that's because utilities could get financial incentives for using renewable energy built or bought outside the state, and she'd like to see that change. 

Interestingly, so does Dominion Energy. In a legislative briefing, the state's largest utility says it wants to see more renewable energy built in the state as well. 

The utility and environmental groups aren't entirely on the same page, however. Environmental groups want incentives to focus on wind and solar, while Dominion is favoring wind and nuclear. 

A proposal for overhauling the energy bill is due January 16.

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