Friday, March 1, 2024

Virginia Developing Plan for Climate Pollution Reduction Grants

In the last two decades, Virginia has managed to reduce its methane emissions by 58.7%. (Adobe Stock)

RICHMOND — Virginia is determining how to best use its Climate Pollution Reduction Grants. This grant was awarded to numerous states through funds allocated in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Virginia received $4 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to formulate a plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Tom Ballou, air quality planning manager with the Department of Environmental Quality, said the problem needed a logical solution.

“First is put together what’s called a priority climate action plan, or PCAP. That’s basically a plan that has to be submitted to the EPA by next March, that identifies near-term, ready-to-go projects that can be implemented in the near term to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, ” he said.

The timeline for this grant funding to be used is over the next four years. Some of these projects will center around collection of methane emissions from landfills in the state.

Earlier this year, a plan was developed for the Smith Gap Landfill in Salem to repurpose its methane emissions into renewable natural gas. The plan for the landfill is slated to be operational by 2025.

Given the state is poised to leave the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by the end of the year, this funding can help fill the void. He notes in the planning phase leaving RGGI
as well as other climate plans will be taken under consideration. This will involve finding answers to several questions Ballou poses.

“What our current emissions are as far as GHG emissions go, what our future emissions will be based on current programs and then see what additional measures might be needed for whatever goal that might be picked; either an 80% goal by 2045 or net-zero goal by 2045,” he said.

He noted the plan developed from this grant will also go hand in hand with the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

This legislation calls for Dominion Energy to be using 100% renewable electricity by 2045. But, the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant plan could hold Dominion to that goal, as the company plans to build a new gas-powered plant that would open in 2027.

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