STATEWIDE — On Friday, Oct. 1, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy adopted its new moniker, the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy).
The move came after the General Assembly passed legislation for the name change and it was signed by Governor Ralph Northam this past April.
According an Oct. 1 release from Gov. Northam’s office, the name change came about as part of a reorganization that follows the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act.
Virginia Energy was reorganized in January 2021 as a result in order to increase focus on clean energy.
This historic act established a renewable portfolio that set the Commonwealth to achieve 30 percent renewable energy by 2030, a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard, and to put Virginia on the path towards a carbon-free electric grid by 2045. It also states that 16,100 megawatts of solar and onshore wind, 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind, and 2,700 megawatts of energy storage are in public interest.
The 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act provides a pathway for clean energy resources construction, while also remaining cognizant of doing so in a cost-effective manner. Additionally, it provides for customers a means to reduce electricity bills while also creating energy-efficient savings for low-income households throughout the Commonwealth.
Lastly, the act changed the names of the Division of Energy to the Division of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and the Division of Mined Land Reclamation to the Division of Mined Land Repurposing.
In January 2021, Virginia Energy shifted towards investigating development opportunities for repurposing previously mined sites throughout the Commonwealth. Some of the projects included in this repurposing are: agriculture, cultural, recreational, industrial, as well as solar energy.
“The Virginia Department of Energy has a long history of working with partners across the energy sector and across the government at all levels in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Collaboration between the agency and these partners will be critical in meeting the climate goals that are so important to all of us.”
Virginia Energy was founded in 1985, serving most mining industries in the Commonwealth. Its purpose was to ensure the safety of coal, mineral, gas, and oil workers as well as environmental compliance at each work site. While the department housed the energy sector, it was widely expanded as a result of the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act.
According to the Oct. 1 release, Virginia Energy currently employs almost two hundred employees across the Commonwealth. The department serves as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Virginia State Energy Office while also managing state-based clean energy policy and initiatives. Additionally, it serves as the regulatory body for the coal and minieral mining industries as well as gas production.
To learn more, visit the website for the Virginia Department of Energy.