State and Local Policy Database

Virginia

State Scorecard Rank

36

Virginia

12.5Scored out of 50Updated 11/2013
State Government
Score: 4.5 out of 7
State Government Summary List All

The state offers a variety of energy efficiency incentives. The state government leads by example by requiring energy-efficient public buildings and benchmarking energy use.

Financial Incentives List All

Financial incentive information for Virginia is provided by the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Virginia).

Last Updated: November 2013

Building Energy Disclosure List All

There is no disclosure policy in place.

Last Updated: July 2014

Public Building Requirements List All

In the past, Virginia has set several short-term targets for energy savings in state buildings. Executive Order 19, signed by Governor Bob McDonnell on July 1, 2010, directed each state agency to develop and employ efficiency tools with the goal of reducing its annual energy use by at least 5 percent for fiscal year 2012 (compared to fiscal year 2010). A previous executive order (Executive Order 48) signed on April 5, 2007, directed state agencies to reduce the annual cost of non-renewable energy purchases by at least 20% of fiscal year 2006 expenditures by fiscal year 2010. A post-FY 2012 target has not yet been established.

EO 19 also directs that new or renovated state buildings should conform to LEED silver or Green Globes two-globe standards.  In addition, the order instructs the Commonwealth to encourage private sector adoption of energy-efficient building standards by giving preference when leasing buildings for state use to facilities meeting the above standards.

Executive Directive 2, signed by Governor McDonnell in 2011, directs three state agencies to create a plan to centralize energy management across state facilities to seek out economies of scale and greater energy efficiencies. This plan shall also encourage communications among agencies on energy best practices and educate state employees about how their actions affect state energy use and costs.

Last Updated: July 2014

Fleets List All

Executive Order 19, signed by Governor Bob McDonnell on July 1, 2010, included efficiency requirements for state vehicle fleets and fuel conservation requirements that favor more efficient alternatives to the use of both fleet and personal vehicles. EO 19 directed the Department of General Services to include in its policies and procedures guidelines for the purchase or lease of fuel-efficient, low-emission state-owned vehicles, when practicable. EO 19 also directs that video or tele-conferences should be preferred to in-person meetings where meeting in person would require out of town, or even cross town, travel. If travel is required, car pooling should be employed if possible. Agency policies should encourage the use of public transportation and other alternatives to personal vehicle use. EO 19 also cites § 2.2-2817.1 of the Code of Virginia, requiring each state agency to pursue a goal of not less than 20 percent of its eligible workforce telecommuting by January 1, 2010.

Last Updated: July 2014

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and Department of General Services (DGS) administer under the Virginia Energy Management Program (VEMP) a performance contracting program for state facilities and other public bodies that provides on-site technical assistance; code and safety compliance oversight; a well-defined, low-risk process under a statewide contract; template documents and other resources; and list of a pre-qualified energy service companies. In 2010, Governor McDonnell issued an executive order that requires state agencies to engage with both departments to attain energy efficiency improvements. Executive Directive 2, issued in 2011, directs DMME and DGS to examine conversion of VEMP to a self-sustaining enterprise operation and to create a plan to centralize energy management across state facilities to seek out economies of scale and greater energy efficiencies.

Last Updated: July 2014

Research & Development List All

The Riverstone Energy Centre focuses on modeling and simulation to support the energy technology commercialization process. The R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency supports projects in advanced manufacturing and energy efficiency.

The state also offers grants to encourage collaboration between private investors and Virginia’s educational institutions to conduct R&D activities in the tobacco regions of the Commonwealth.

Last Updated: July 2014

Buildings
Score: 4 out of 7
Buildings Summary List All

Virginia’s Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) is mandatory statewide for residential and commercial buildings. As of July 14, 2014, the USBC was updated to reference the 2012 IECC and 2012 IRC. Residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IRC, while commercial buildings must meet 2012 IECC standards with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Virginia has completed a baseline compliance study, established a stakeholder advisory group, and offers code trainings.

Residential Codes List All

Virginia’s Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) is mandatory statewide for residential buildings. Residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IRC; however, a few technical amendments were made to the residential energy code requirements and no significant improvements were adopted, rendering the residential code equivalent to the 2009 IECC.

Last Updated: July 2014

Commercial Code List All

Virginia’s Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) is mandatory statewide for commercial buildings. Commercial buildings must comply with the 2012 IECC, with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. 

Last Updated: July 2014

Compliance List All
  • Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: NA
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) completed a compliance assessment and submitted results to DOE/PNL in 2012.
  • Utility Involvement: NA
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group: NA
  • Training/Outreach: The Division of Building and Fire Regulations within DHCD provides comprehensive training for both residential and commercial energy codes and has recently approved a voluntary certification program for code officials. Additionally, new 2012 Code update training is currently underway for both commercial and residential energy requirements. At least four more onsite training sessions are scheduled for July and August 2014. After live onsite training is completed, the training will be placed on the Agency’s Knowledge Center and available at no cost to code officials and contractors throughout the state of Virginia. There is no cost to access the free on-line training.

Last Updated: November 2013

CHP
Score: 0.5 out of 5
CHP Summary List All

The state offers incentives for CHP projects, but has not otherwise pursued policies to encourage the deployment of CHP.

Interconnection StandardsList All

Policy: Virginia Interconnection Standard

Description: In 2009 the Virginia State Corporation Commission adopted interconnection rules for those systems that are not net metered. The rules feature three tiers of interconnection, ranging from those under 500kW to those of 20MW. Fees differ depending on system size and a dispute resolution process is stipulated. No fuels or technologies are specified, and none are explicitly precluded.

A separate interconnection standard is applicable to systems that are also net metered. Systems powered by renewable fuels may be net metered.

Last Updated: July 2014

CHP in Clean Energy Standards List All

There is currently no portfolio standard in place under which CHP is eligible.

For more information on portfolio standards, click here.

Last Updated: July 2014

Financing Assistance List All

No state loan programs are available for CHP.

Last Updated: July 2014

Financial Incentives for CHP List All

Policy: Virginia Commonwealth’s Energy Leasing Program

Description: Public entities and other institutions in Virginia may take advantage of this financing program, which offers 12 to 15-year terms for energy projects with a minimum cost of $100,000. CHP projects may be eligible for this financing.

Last Updated: July 2014

Revenue Streams List All

Policy: Virginia Net Metering Rules

Description: Applicable only to those systems powered by renewable fuels such as biomass, and only to systems up to 500kW, Virginia’s net metering rules also cap net metering systems at 1% of distributor’s peak load.

Last Updated: July 2014

Output-Based Emissions Regs List All

Policy: Virginia’s New Unit and Health Set-Asides

Description: Virginia has established a set-aside for energy efficiency within existing emissions budgets.

Last Updated: July 2014

Utilities
Score: 1 out of 20
Utilities Summary List All

Virginia has made legislative progress in energy efficiency, however the implementation process has been difficult and as a result the state still falls well below the national average on energy efficiency program spending and energy savings. In 2007, Virginia set a legislative goal (S 1416) of reducing electricity consumption by 10% (from 2006 levels) by 2022. In 2008, the legislature mandated that utilities submit integrated resource plans that lay out demand-side resources. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved five energy efficiency programs for Dominion Power in 2010, and additional programs in 2012.  

Repeated attempts to introduce energy efficiency goals and resource standards have not been successful. The governor vetoed an energy efficiency resource standard in 2009 (SB 1248). In 2008, legislators rejected an earlier goal of 19% savings by 2025 (SB 1296). SB 111, which would have introduced innovative rate structures, did not pass. Revenue recovery has also been questioned on the basis of consumer affordability (SB 150).    

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Customer Energy Efficiency Programs List All

HB 2506, enacted in, authorized investor-owned electric utilities to recover the costs of designing, implementing, and operating energy efficiency programs by adjusting their rates, if such programs are found to be in the public interest.  The Virginia State Corporation Commission may allow utilities to recover reductions in revenue related to energy efficiency programs, to the extent the revenue is not recovered through off-system sales. In 2010, legislators did not pass a bill that removed cost recovery as an option unless it was cost-effective for consumers (SB 150).

Dominion Power now offers a small set of programs for its residential and commercial customers, and several gas utilities offer rebates. The Tennessee Valley Authority also runs efficiency programs in Virginia. 

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last Updated: July 2014

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

Since 2008, Virginia code has required electric utilities to file integrated resource plans (IRPs). The IRPs will forecast electric utilities' expected loads (projected over a 15-year period) and the utilities' plans to meet these obligations by using supply-side and demand-side resources. Utilities began filing IRPs in 2009.

For more information on energy efficiency as a resource, click here.

Last Updated: July 2014

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

In March 2007, the Virginia legislature passed a bill amending Virginia’s earlier electric industry restructuring law. The governor approved the bill conditionally, requiring the addition of a section on energy conservation, including a goal of 10% electricity savings by 2022 (calculated relative to 2006 sales). The legislature accepted this condition. Under this provision, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) was directed to conduct a proceeding to consider whether the 10% goal could be met cost-effectively, determine the mix of programs that should be implemented and their cost, and develop a plan for development and implementation of these programs, including who should deploy and administer these programs. The SCC completed a report verifying the energy efficiency goal of 10% by 2022 was achievable. However, no regulatory requirements have been put in place for energy efficiency programs, and so energy savings goals are considered voluntary.

Last Updated: July 2014

Utility Business Model List All

Virginia allows natural gas utilities, but not electric utilities, to decouple their profits from their sales. In December 2008, Virginia Gas received approval to implement a three-year conservation and ratemaking efficiency plan. The plan has two main components: an Energy Conservation Plan (ECP) to promote conservation and efficiency and a Revenue Normalization Adjustment, Rider D ("RNA Rider" or "Rider"), which is a natural gas decoupling mechanism that provides for a sales adjustment to customers’ monthly bills. The ECP and RNA Rider became effective on January 1, 2009 (Docket No. PUE-2008-00060; December 23, 2008).

Virginia Code Section 56-585.1 provides for the recovery of revenue reductions related to energy efficiency programs. Dominion Virginia Power applied for recovery of lost revenues in a regular rate case as part of its application to continue its DSM riders. The Commission denied Dominion’s lost revenue recovery request because it determined that the company did not meet its “burden to establish that its proposed revenue reductions ‘occur[red] due to measured and verified decreased consumption of electricity caused by energy efficiency programs approved by the Commission…’” (emphasis in order). The Commission held that Dominion failed to provide “sufficient evidence for the Commission to measure and to verify that a specific amount of decreased consumption of electricity was directly caused by the CFLprogram.”

Revenue recovery is limited by any offsetting sales and subject to industry standard measurement and verification. (Case No. PUE-2010-00084)

The 2007 legislation amending the state's earlier restructuring law called for the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) to open a proceeding to initiate the development and implementation of efficiency programs with incentives and alternative means of compliance to achieve such goals. The legislation also states that an electric utility may recover projected and actual costs of energy efficiency programs, including a margin recoverable on operating expenses, which is equal to the general rate of return on common equity.  The SCC can only approve such recovery if it finds that the program is in the public interest (See Virginia Code Section 56-585.1). 

Virginia does not have incentives in place for natural gas.

Last Updated: July 2014

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All
  • Cost-effectiveness test(s) used: RIM, TRC, UCT, PCT
  • Uses a deemed savings database: no

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Virginia relies on legislative mandates (VA Code Section 56-585.1 a5). Evaluations are mainly administered by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Virginia has formal requirements for evaluation articulated in 20 20 VAC 5-304-10 . Evaluations for each of the utilities are conducted. Virginia uses four of the five classic benefit-cost tests identified in the California Standard Practice Manual. These are the Total Resource Cost (TRC), Utility/Programs Administrator (UCT), Participant (PCT), and Ratepayer Impact Measure (RIM). Virginia specifies the RIM to be its primary test for decision making. The benefit-cost tests are required for overall portfolio, total program, customer project, and individual measure level programs screening. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in 20 VAC 5-304-10 .

Last Updated: November 2013

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

Certain large customers are exempt from paying for the costs of new energy efficiency programs. Dominion Power customers may qualify for their opt-out program by having average demands between 500kW;and 10MW; Customers over 10 MW do not participate in the state's energy efficiency programming by law. Once customers opt-out, they cannot take advantage of existing programming nor be charged for it.  Customers must show that they have already made energy efficiency investments or plan to in the future.  Customers must submit measurement and verification reports yearly in support of their opting out of programs funded by a cost-recovery mechanism (CRM). 

Last Updated: July 2014

Transportation
Score: 2.5 out of 9
Transportation Summary List All

The state devotes significant funding to transportation initiatives, integrates transportation and land use planning, and has passed complete streets legislation.

Tailpipe Emission Standards List All

No policy in place or proposed.

Last Updated: November 2013

Transportation System Efficiency List All

Virginia’s Planning, Subdivision of Land and Zoning Code (Title 15.2, Chapter 22) requires every locality in Virginia to undertake a comprehensive plan that coordinates land-use planning and future actions in order to effectively implement zoning requirements. Local governments are in charge of controlling growth while the state ties use ofdiscretionary funds to the implementation of sustainable growth practices.

House Bill 2313, adopted this year, creates the Commonwealth Mass Transit Fund which will receive approximately 15% of revenues collected from the implementation of a 1.5% sales and use tax for transportation expenditures. The state has also had a complete streets policy in place since 2004. 

Last Updated: November 2013

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

No policy in place or proposed.

Last Updated: November 2013

Appliance Standards
Score: 0 out of 2
Appliance Standards Summary List All

Virginia has not set appliance standards beyond those required by the federal government. 

Last Updated: November 2013