CCE Supports sPower’s Spotsylvania Solar Project

February 28, 2019

Conservatives for Clean Energy Virginia strongly supports sPower’s Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center. The Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center is a 500-Megawatt (MWac) solar project located in western Spotsylvania County, Virginia. It will be the largest solar farm in Virginia to date. This offers enormous potential for Spotsylvania and the Commonwealth as a whole. Already, Microsoft announced they will buy 315 MWs from the facility for their Virginia operations. The University of Richmond, Apple, and other companies will also purchase power from the project.

In January, CCE Executive Director Chris West authored an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star highlighting the benefits. Here are excerpts.

With over 43 companies in Virginia committed to powering their operations with 100 percent renewable energy, and 21 of the state’s 50 largest employers working to use more clean energy, renewable energy—such as solar power—is the future of energy production in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Solar projects are being developed all across the state, and the country, to help power these needs.

It’s not just companies that want solar. It’s residents too. In a recent public opinion poll conducted in Virginia, voters overwhelmingly agreed that the commonwealth should pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy to lower dependence on fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency.

Specifically, over 71 percent of voters want to put more emphasis on solar energy.

As conservatives, we believe we need all types of energy in this state, but that we also need to begin to shift toward more clean, renewable energy production. Solar is a key component of this.

That’s why today there is over 600 megawatts of existing solar power in the state, and over 2,300 megawatts proposed or under development – many of which are bordered by residences, just like the proposed project in Spotsylvania.

This project is a huge opportunity for Spotsylvania County to generate new revenue, lead in the renewable energy space, and bring a good corporate partner to the area. In our view, this a very positive opportunity for Spotsylvania and the commonwealth as a whole.

CCE also submitted a rebuttal published in the Winchester Star when their editorial board called it part of the “Green New Deal.”

In response to “Star edit: Green New Deal, Virginia style”: Conservatives for Clean Energy believes we need an “all the above” energy strategy that includes the further development of renewable energy, such as solar, here in Virginia. That’s why we support sPower’s Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center.

This project is nowhere a “green new deal” as the editorial page called it. This project is a private economic development project on private land to help move the ball forward on renewable energy production in Virginia for companies here that want to power their operations with solar energy. This project will mean $17 million in new tax revenue to Spotsylvania County, create hundreds of jobs, and bring tech investment and a new economic development partner to the region.

Contrary to what the editorial states, solar panels are safe, the company has to adhere to strict erosion control and stormwater measures, and the project is consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan. The project will have zero impact on electricity rates. In fact, the company’s proposal will help save the county money on its power bills.

This isn’t a Republican vs. Democrat issue -– this is something all sides agree on. More and more companies and residents in Virginia desire to keep the lights on with renewable energy (86 percent of Virginians want to accelerate the development of renewable energy). sPower’s project is an important part of making that possible.

On February 26, the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors held a hearing to hear from the public on the proposed project. CCE was there in person to speak in support of the project. You can view the full remarks here beginning at the 1:41 mark.

“The project has its supporters. “Renewable energy, such as solar power, is the future of energy production in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Chris West, executive director of Conservatives for Clean Energy for Virginia.” WTOP.

“Speaking for a group called Conservatives for Clean Energy, Chris West said public demand was also strong. “In a recent poll, over 71% of Virginians want to put more emphasis on solar energy.”” WVTF.

“Many supporters, including Conservatives for Clean Energy Virginia Executive Director Chris West, cited the Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center as a key part of the effort to reduce the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels. “Renewable energy such as solar power is the future of energy production in the commonwealth of Virginia,” said West.” Virginia Mercury.

CCE will continue to engage with stakeholders and supporters to advance the Spotsylvania Solar Center project. The next board meeting will be held on March 12 where it is anticipated the board will vote on final approval of the project. We encourage everyone to email their representatives to express their support for the project.