Virginia Energy Sense is an important piece of the Commonwealth’s energy policy, which aims to promote an “all of the above” energy strategy.
The 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, published in October 2014 by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), establishes four key areas to transition Virginia to a new energy economy. The goals include:
- Diversify Virginia’s economy by strategically growing the energy sector.
- Innovate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy consumption throughout the Commonwealth.
- Strengthen Virginia’s business climate by investing in reliable and resilient energy infrastructure.
- Prepare Virginia’s workforce to drive the energy economy into the future.
Energy efficiency is considered to be the largest and least costly energy resource available today. As the 2014 Energy Plan states, “the cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy that is not consumed. Strong energy efficiency measures in government, businesses, and residences will reduce energy consumption and diminish the need for new power plants.”
Aggressive implementation of energy efficiency measures in both the public and private sectors will also grow the existing energy efficiency industry in Virginia. One study estimates that robust energy efficiency policy in Virginia could increase the Gross State Domestic Product by $286 million and increase employment by 38,000 jobs by 2030.
The 2014 Plan calls for the establishment of a Virginia Board on Energy Efficiency. The board would develop and oversee the implementation of a strategic plan to achieve the voluntary goal of reducing energy consumption by 10% by 2022. This aim would accelerate the 2007 Virginia Energy Plan goal — which led to establishment of the Virginia Energy Sense program — by two years.
Since its creation in 2009, Virginia Energy Sense and its partners have been working to educate Virginians about their energy use and choices, helping to create smarter energy users at home, at work and at school. With continued outreach, awareness and action, Virginians can do their part to help achieve the Commonwealth’s goals, saving money in the process and making Virginia a better place to live and work.