The latest announcement by Gov. Ralph Northam has paved Virginia’s way on the road to carbon freedom by achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2050.
In his announcement, Gov. Northam said that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) authorized the establishment and usage of four new solar projects across the state on Thursday.
It is believed that once these solar projects are up and running, they will generate 192 megawatts (MW) of electricity, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 459 million pounds. Also, these projects will lower the bills and create more employment in the state. With reduced carbon dioxide emissions, the air quality of the state will significantly improve.
In his announcement, Ralph Northam said, “Virginia is adopting solar technology at record rates, and we are building an economy that is cleaner and greener as a result. These four projects will strengthen our solar energy infrastructure and help to sustainably power thousands of homes and businesses across Virginia.”
“As the Commonwealth shifts to renewable energy sources, we are also reducing our carbon footprint, expanding opportunities for economic development, and attracting the clean energy jobs that we need today and for generations to come,” he added.
Before the permits from the Virginia DEQ, Northam issued Executive Order 42 last month, ensuring 3 GW of energy is generated from the solar and onshore wind power projects by 2022. Northam, with his executive order, aims to source 30 percent of Virginia’s electric system from renewable energy sources.
According to the sources, Danville Farm, to be developed by Strata Solar Development in Pittsylvania County, will source 12 megawatts of electricity. On the other hand, Turner Solar will be developed by Cypress Creek Renewables in Henrico County and will generate 20 megawatts of electricity. Dragonfly Solar to be developed by Apex Clean Energy Holdings in Campbell County will generate 80 megawatts of electricity.
Similarly, Grasshopper Solar Project to be developed by Dominion Energy Services in Mecklenburg County will generate 80 MW of energy.
The executive order was the only way for Gov. Ralph Northam and it came as a surprise as both the House and the Senate of Virginia is controlled by the GOP members. And, a law involving such proposition and the huge extent of reducing carbon emission has never been passed in a state, where Republicans controlled either the House or the Senate.
The only question that remains now is will the decision by Democratic Gov. Northam help the party gain the support of voters in the impending state elections?
Considering the facts and the manner in which Ralph Northam used the Executive power, it won’t be wrong to claim that if these projects get through the day successfully, it will not only make Virginia the leading state using renewable energy but will also boost the state’s employment rate, air quality and the saving of the taxpayers on electrical bills.