Blacksburg joins Hawaii in call for 100 percent renewable energy; despite recent progress, Virginia lags behind on renewable energy and clean technology

July 27, 2018

Virginia is falling behind the rest of the nation on its use of clean energy, in that, wind energy use in the state is not increasing, compared to a nearly five-fold increase nationally.


On a brighter note, solar grew by 544.4-fold in Virginia, compared to nearly 40-fold nationally.


The state lags behind on energy efficiency, ranking 35th among the states for improvements in electricity energy efficiency programs.


We’re falling behind and missing huge opportunities to transition Virginia’s economy to a cleaner, healthier future powered by renewable energy.


But, the progress we’ve seen in the last decade on wind, solar and other technologies like electric cars and battery storage, should give Virginians the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level.


The recently released report, Renewables on the Rise: A Decade of Progress Positions America for a 100% Renewable Future, provides a state-by-state assessment of the growth of key technologies needed to power the nation with clean, renewable energy, including wind, solar, energy efficiency, energy storage and electric vehicles.


Virginia has seen no increase in wind electricity generation and ranks 20th for solar and 16th for number of electric vehicles. 


But, we have a long way to make the kind of energy transformation that is needed and to fulfill our potential to meet our energy needs with clean, renewable energy.


The report describes the factors for rapid growth in each category since 2008, including policies, improved technologies and lower costs, all of which suggest the potential for continued rapid growth in the years to come.


The report comes as a diverse group of U.S. cities, states, corporations and institutions commit to 100 percent renewable energy.


In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the country to set a 100 percent renewable energy requirement, and similar bills in both Massachusetts and California have cleared major hurdles this year.


At the local level, 61 American cities, led by a mix of Republican and Democratic mayors, have committed to that goal, including Blacksburg, VA.


In addition, 131 major companies, including Bank of America, Google and Anheuser-Busch, have committed to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy.



The reality is inescapable: fossil fuels pollute our air, water and land, threatening our health and changing our climate even faster than scientists predicted. We need to seize the moment, build on recent progress and lean into a future powered by clean, renewable energy.


Repowering our economy with clean, renewable energy can put our nation on a healthier, more sustainable course.


And with rapid improvements in technology, vast clean energy resources, and a willing public, a future powered entirely by clean, renewable energy is increasingly within our reach.


Submitted by the Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center's Corinne Leard, who can be reached in Richmond, Va., at and at 202-461-3848.

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