On September 17th, Secure Futures sponsored and attended the inaugural Virginia Clean Energy Summit. There have been other conferences dealing with energy in Virginia over the last few years that have addressed renewables along with traditional energy sources. But September’s Summit was the first statewide meeting to bring together government officials, industry representatives and advocates focused on clean energy alone.
Sure, clean energy has had its place at conferences before – we’ve seen panels on renewables at sustainability conferences, the COVES conferences covered energy and sustainability, and the Governor’s Energy Conference covered (you guessed it) energy across a wide spectrum. But never before has Virginia seen a full conference dedicated to clean energy alone.
Attendees held their breath before the conference, unsure how a full-day Virginia Clean Energy Summit in downtown Richmond would turn out. The networking reception the night before the conference was a great indicator of how popular the conference would be.
Many of the conference organizers worked together at the Gather co-working office downtown, and they invited attendees to meet and get excited for the next day at the new office. Very quickly, the space filled to capacity and the reception had to flow into the adjacent rooftop deck to accommodate all of the enthusiasm. Over 100 eager guests came together to share ideas, a drink, and their excitement for the Summit the following morning.
Andrew Grigsby, customer solutions manager for Secure Futures who also serves as executive director of the Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance, set the mood for the day with his opening remarks:
The clean energy future is upon us. Working together, we’ll find greater business opportunity, faster realization of climate and resilience goals, and increased consumer empowerment as these technologies, businesses, and communities collaborate and integrate. It’s a remarkable time to be working in this space. It also is necessary. Our children are counting on us to do this swiftly, efficiently, and effectively. The energy powering their future must be clean.Andrew Grigsby, Executive Director of the Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance
Grigsby’s forward-thinking remarks gave Governor Ralph Northam the perfect opening to share exciting news during his keynote address. The governor used his talk to issue Executive Order 43, which commits Virginia to power its electric grid with 100% clean energy by 2050. This announcement kicked off the Virginia Clean Energy Summit on a high note and gave urgency to the rest of the day’s agenda.
“I always say that I want Virginia to be a welcoming place, with our lights on and our doors open. Well, I also want those lights to be powered by clean energy. And if the doors are automatic, I want them to be powered by clean energy.”Governor Ralph Northam at the Virginia Clean Energy Summit
Virginia Advanced Energy Economy, a co-host of the conference, released a timely report after the Summit which explored the impact of Governor Northam’s executive order. The report concluded that transitioning to zero-carbon electricity would help Virginians spend less on electricity while getting more of what helps make our state the #1 place to do business — more jobs, higher personal incomes, growth in our state’s GDP, better health and a cleaner environment.
Coincidentally, Virginia’s new commitment to clean energy, which will make it easier to go solar, came just as the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit was due to wind down starting in 2020. Since the solar ITC still stands at its 30% level until the end of this year, there are advantages to making the decision to go solar soon to lock in the federal tax credit at the 30% rate by December 31 of this year.
We challenge our schools, hospitals, and businesses to use the momentum from Governor Northam’s Executive Order 43 and all the other good news announced at Virginia Clean Energy Summit to consider installing solar through Secure Futures in order to help Virginia meet its 100% carbon-free energy goal. Reach out to us to find out how you can get the maximum benefit from going solar this year.