Meet Virginia: September 17 Event to Boost the State’s Clean Energy Transition

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It’s not North Carolina. And it’s certainly not California. But Virginia is emerging as an increasingly good place for the clean energy industry.

Exactly how — and what can be done to accelerate the transition — will be the topic of the Virginia Clean Energy Summit, September 17 in Richmond.

The conference “is very much about having a wide variety of folks in the same room where they can make a little bit more magic happen,” said Andrew Grigsby, executive director of the Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance, which is hosting the conference with four other MidAtlantic clean energy and resiliency organizations.

Virginia clean energy summit

Microgrid Knowledge’s Elisa Wood will lead a panel on energy security at the Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Gov. Ralph Northam will deliver the event keynote, and the conference will feature a range of speakers and panelists deeply involved in solar, wind, energy efficiency, storage, electric vehicles and related topics.

Elisa Wood, editor-in-chief at Microgrid Knowledge, will lead a 1:15-2:15 pm discussion on local energy security that will offer insights into microgrids and distributed energy projects in the region. 

“This discussion couldn’t be more timely. Hurricane Dorian’s massive destruction shows us again why we need to secure the electric grid. Fortunately, there are great examples of how this is being done in many places — by industry, government, the military,” Wood said. “Our panelists have tremendous hands-on industry experience to share.”

The energy security panel will feature: Eric Coffman, chief, Office of Energy and Sustainability, Department of General Services, Montgomery County, Maryland; Chris Dellinger, account executive, Public Sector Solutions, Energy & Sustainability Services, Schneider Electric; Neeharika Naik-Dhungel, program manager, CHP Partnership, US Environmental Protection Agency; and Scott Sklar, president, The Stella Group.

Grigsby described Virginia as “a middle ground performer” when it comes to clean energy, a place that is therefore ripe with opportunity.

“Virginia is not California, we’re not even North Carolina if you look at solar. We don’t have the energy efficiency programs of Massachusetts or Wisconsin. We don’t have have a REV process like New York,” he said. “We do have the first offshore wind lease in federal waters.”

In addition, Ashburn, Virginia, a national hub for data centers, is driving demand for renewables, as these energy-hungry facilities increasingly seek out green supply. He also noted that development of utility-scale solar is on the rise in the state.  

Virginia also boasts a plan, recently announced by Dominion Energy, to create the nation’s largest electric school bus deployment.

The Virginia Clean Energy Summit offers an opportunity for those in clean energy to move beyond their technology silos and explore how they can collaborate, he said. This is evidenced by the varied specialties of the hosts. In addition to Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance,  the conference hosts include: the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, Resilient Virginia​; Virginia Advanced Energy Economy and the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council,

The one-day event will be held September 17 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Attendees will include representatives from businesses, governments, academia and non-government organizations.

Registration information is available at Virginia Clean Energy Summit.

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