Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 17. Other Sources of Energy Generally; Energy Policy
10/22/2021

Article 4. Virginia Energy Plan.

§ 45.2-1710. (Effective October 1, 2021) Development of the Virginia Energy Plan.

A. The Division, in consultation with the State Corporation Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Clean Energy Advisory Board, the solar, wind, energy efficiency, and transportation electrification sectors, and a stakeholder group that includes representatives of consumer, environmental, manufacturing, forestry, and agricultural organizations and natural gas and electric utilities, shall prepare a comprehensive Virginia Energy Plan (the Plan) that identifies actions over a 10-year period consistent with the goal of the Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy set forth in § 45.2-1706.1 to achieve, no later than 2045, a net-zero carbon energy economy for all sectors, including the electricity, transportation, building, agricultural, and industrial sectors. The Plan shall propose actions, consistent with the objectives enumerated in § 45.2-1706.1, that will implement the Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy set forth in § 45.2-1706.1.

B. In addition, the Plan shall include:

1. Projections of energy consumption in the Commonwealth, including the use of fuel sources and costs of electricity, natural gas, gasoline, coal, renewable resources, and other forms of non-greenhouse-gas-generating energy resources, such as nuclear power, used in the Commonwealth;

2. An analysis of the adequacy of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution resources in the Commonwealth for the natural gas and electric industries, and how distributed energy resources and regional generation, transmission, and distribution resources affect the Commonwealth;

3. An analysis of siting requirements for electric generation resources and natural gas and electric transmission and distribution resources, including an assessment of state and local impediments to expanded use of distributed resources and recommendations to reduce or eliminate such impediments;

4. An analysis of fuel diversity for electricity generation, recognizing the importance of flexibility in meeting future capacity needs;

5. An analysis of the efficient use of energy resources and conservation initiatives;

6. An analysis of how such Virginia-specific issues relate to regional initiatives to ensure the adequacy of fuel production, generation, transmission, and distribution assets;

7. An analysis of the siting of energy resource development, refining, and transmission facilities to identify any disproportionate adverse impact of such activities on economically disadvantaged or minority communities;

8. With regard to any regulations proposed or adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric generating units under § 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7411(d), an analysis of (i) the costs to and benefits for energy producers and electric utility customers, (ii) the effect on energy markets and reliability, and (iii) the commercial availability of technology required to comply with such regulations;

9. An inventory of greenhouse gas emissions compiled using a method determined by the Department of Environmental Quality for the four years prior to the issuance of the Plan;

10. Data regarding the number and type of electric and hybrid electric vehicles currently registered in the Commonwealth; projections of future electric vehicle sales across all vehicle classes, taking into consideration the impact of current and potential statewide policies; and analysis of the impact that the growth of electrified transit on the Commonwealth's electric system;

11. An analysis of the Commonwealth's current electric vehicle charging infrastructure and all future infrastructure needed to support the 2045 net-zero carbon target in the transportation sector, including chargers, make-ready electrical equipment, and supporting hardware and software needed to support the electrification of all vehicle categories used on and off roads and highways, including light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty vehicles and electric bicycles, as well as that needed to electrify ground transportation at all ports and airports, with particular attention to the needs of historically economically disadvantaged communities as defined in § 56-576 and any state or local impediments to deployment; and

12. Recommendations, based on the analyses completed under subdivisions 1 through 11, for legislative, regulatory, and other public and private actions to implement the elements of the Commonwealth Clean Energy Policy.

C. In preparing the Plan, the Division and other agencies involved in the planning process shall utilize state geographic information systems, to the extent deemed practicable, to assess how recommendations in the Plan may affect pristine natural areas and other significant onshore natural resources. Effective October 1, 2024, interim updates on the Plan shall also contain projections for greenhouse gas emissions that would result from implementation of the Plan's recommendations.

D. In preparing the Plan, the Division and other agencies involved in the planning process shall develop a system for assigning numerical scores to any parcel of real property based on the extent to which such parcel is suitable for the siting of a wind energy facility or solar energy facility. For a wind energy facility, the scoring system shall address the wind velocity, sustained velocity, and turbulence. For either a wind energy facility or a solar energy facility, the scoring system shall address the parcel's proximity to electric power transmission lines or systems, potential impacts of such a facility to natural and historic resources and to economically disadvantaged or minority communities, and compatibility with the local land use plan. The system developed pursuant to this section shall allow the suitability of the parcel for the siting of a wind energy or solar energy facility to be compared to the suitability of other parcels so scored, and shall be based on a scale that allows the suitability of the parcel for the siting of such a facility to be measured against the hypothetical score of an ideal location for such a facility.

E. Upon receipt by the Division of a recommendation from the Department of General Services, a local governing body, or the parcel's owner stating that a parcel of real property is a potentially suitable location for a wind energy facility or solar energy facility, the Division shall analyze the suitability of the parcel for the location of such a facility. In conducting its analysis, the Division shall ascribe a numerical score to the parcel using the scoring system developed pursuant to subsection D.

2006, c. 939, § 67-201; 2014, cc. 603, 756; 2020, cc. 1191, 1192; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 326, 327, 387.

§ 45.2-1711. (Effective October 1, 2021) Schedule for the Plan.

A. The Division shall complete the Plan.

B. Prior to the completion of the Plan and each update thereof, the Division shall present drafts to, and consult with, the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission established pursuant to Chapter 25 (§ 30-188 et seq.) of Title 30 and the Commission on Electric Utility Regulation established pursuant to Chapter 31 (§ 30-201 et seq.) of Title 30.

C. The Plan shall be updated by the Division and submitted as provided in § 45.2-1713 by October 1, 2014, and every fourth October 1 thereafter. In addition, the Division shall provide interim updates on the Plan by October 1 of the third year of each Governor's administration. Updated reports shall specify any progress attained toward each proposed action of the Plan, as well as reassess goals for energy conservation on the basis of progress to date in meeting the goals in the previous Plan and lessons learned from attempts to meet such goals.

D. Beginning with the Plan update in 2014, the Division shall include a section setting forth energy policy positions relevant to any potential regulations proposed or promulgated by the State Air Pollution Control Board to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric generating units under § 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7411(d). In such section of the Plan, the Division shall address policy options for establishing separate standards of performance pursuant to § 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7411(d), for carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units to promote the Plan's overall goal of fuel diversity as follows:

1. The Plan shall address policy options for establishing the standards of performance for existing coal-fired electric generating units, including the following factors:

a. The most suitable system of emission reduction that (i) takes into consideration (a) the cost and benefit of achieving such reduction, (b) any non-air quality health and environmental impacts, and (c) the energy requirements of the Commonwealth and (ii) has been adequately demonstrated for coal-fired electric generating units that are subject to the standard of performance;

b. Reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide that can be achieved through measures reasonably undertaken at each coal-fired electric generating unit; and

c. Increased efficiencies and other measures that can be implemented at each coal-fired electric generating unit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the unit without converting from coal to other fuels, co-firing other fuels with coal, or limiting the utilization of the unit.

2. The Plan shall also address policy options for establishing the standards of performance for existing gas-fired electric generating units, including the following factors:

a. The application of the criteria specified in subdivisions 1 a and b to natural gas-fired electric generating units instead of to coal-fired electric generating units; and

b. Increased efficiencies and other measures that can be reasonably implemented at the unit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the unit without switching from natural gas to other lower-carbon fuels or limiting the utilization of the unit.

3. The Plan shall examine policy options for state regulatory action to adopt less stringent standards or longer compliance schedules than those provided for in applicable federal rules or guidelines based on analysis of the following:

a. Consumer impacts, including any disproportionate impacts of energy price increases on lower-income populations;

b. Unreasonable cost of reducing emissions resulting from plant age, location, or basic process design;

c. Physical difficulties with or impossibility of implementing emission reduction measures;

d. The absolute cost of applying the performance standard to the unit;

e. The expected remaining useful life of the unit;

f. The economic impacts of closing the unit, including expected job losses, if the unit is unable to comply with the performance standard; and

g. Any other factors specific to the unit that make application of a less stringent standard or longer compliance schedule more reasonable.

4. The Plan shall identify options, to the maximum extent permissible, for any federally required regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units and regulatory mechanisms that provide flexibility in complying with such standards, including the averaging of emissions, emissions trading, or other alternative implementation measures that are determined to further the interests of the Commonwealth and its citizens.

2006, c. 939, § 67-202; 2008, cc. 651, 883; 2014, cc. 161, 419, 603, 756; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 326, 387.

§ 45.2-1712. (Effective October 1, 2021) Annual reporting by investor-owned public utilities.

Each investor-owned public utility providing electric service in the Commonwealth shall prepare an annual report disclosing its efforts to conserve energy, including (i) its implementation of customer demand-side management programs and (ii) efforts by the utility to improve efficiency and conserve energy in its internal operations pursuant to § 56-235.1. The utility shall submit each annual report to the Division by November 1 of each year, and the Division shall compile the reports of the utilities and submit the compilation to the Governor and the General Assembly as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents.

2008, c. 651, § 67-202.1; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

§ 45.2-1713. (Effective October 1, 2021) Submission of the Plan.

Upon completion, the Division shall submit the Plan, including periodic updates thereto, to the Governor, the Commissioners of the State Corporation Commission, and the General Assembly. The Plan shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents. The Plan's executive summary shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

2006, c. 939, § 67-203; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.