Why has Virginia lagged the mid-Atlantic region in renewable energy development, and how could it create more opportunities for clean energy jobs and investment? On Thursday September 29th, VA-REA convened its first Leadership in Energy Advancement and Development (LEAD) series event of 2016 to address renewable energy barriers and opportunities in the Commonwealth. The interactive workshop convened more than 65 renewable energy developers, installers, lenders, utility company executives and renewable energy advocates from around the Mid-Atlantic region, to discuss current trends and initiatives in one of the fastest growing sectors of Virginia’s economy.
Emphasizing the importance and relevance of ‘Green Collar Jobs’, an opening panel discussion focused on the barriers and opportunities to renewable energy development in Virginia. Through an interactive format, the panelists discussed various aspects of financing, permitting and inter-organization collaboration that are necessary before any ‘boots can hit the roof’ on a given renewable energy project.
Although Virginia lags behind its neighboring states in terms of renewable energy deployment, panelists were optimistic about the rate of clean energy growth in the Commonwealth. In 2015 alone, Virginia’s installed solar capacity grew more than 70%, compared to the previous year.
While the future for renewable energy remains bright in Virginia, panelists cautioned against complacency, citing looming industry growing pains. While technological development for renewable energy has been rapid, policymakers nationwide have been slow to mirror these advancements with supportive legislation.
Wayne Waldrop, Chief Lending Officer for Virginia Community Capital, keynoted the workshop by presenting two government loan subsidy programs to support renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in Virginia: the Virginia Sustainable And Verifiable Energy Savings (VA SAVES), and Virginia Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
Three LEAD series events planned for 2017 will focus on how Virginia can meet future energy needs through renewable energy. Like our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to stay current with renewable energy events in Virginia.