Energy Incentive Programs, Virginia

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Updated July 2015

Virginia utilities budgeted $4 million in 2014 to promote customer energy efficiency.

What public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs are available in my state?

Virginia has no public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs.  

What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?

Dominion Virginia Power offers rebates for lighting, HVAC, and window film. It also offers a program for small business improvements. Projects are required to be completed by a company-approved contractor. 

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is the largest publicly-owned utility in the U.S. and offers a variety of resources to the commercial and industrial customers of participating distributors of TVA power. Customers of these local power companies are eligible for the Energy Right Solutions program, which includes the following:

  • Standard Rebates and Custom Incentives provide two different options for offsetting the costs of energy efficiency projects. Standard cash rebates are available for replacing specific types of equipment (lighting, motors, HVAC, and food service equipment) with more efficient versions. Projects that are more comprehensive or involve other types of efficiency upgrades may qualify for custom incentives. 

  • Other resources include technical advice for qualifying customers and the Business Energy Advisor, which provides calculators and tips on common ways to reduce energy by facility type. 

Columbia Gas of Virginia’s Warm Wise Business Saving Program offers rebates for a wide variety of energy-efficient gas space and water heating equipment, including commercial-scale boilers and water heaters. Free low-flow pre-rinse spray valves are also offered. A custom component to the program is available, covering less common measures such as controls upgrades, retro-commissioning, heat recovery, and solar water heating.

Danville Utilities also offers lighting, HVAC, and installation incentives for local commercial and industrial customers.

What load management/demand response options are available to me?

The PJM Interconnection (PJM), a regional transmission organization (RTO), offers several demand response programs. Two specific programs may be attractive to federal facilities:

  • PJM’s emergency “capacity” program allows demand resources to participate in PJM’s Reliability Pricing Model (RPM) forward capacity market via a curtailment service provider (any existing PJM member, such as their utility, a third-party electricity supplier, or a specialty CSP).  Participants pledge to either reduce their load by a specified amount (guaranteed load drop, GLD), or to a specific kW level (known as firm service level, FSL), within one or two hours of an event notification. Load reductions are mandatory and may occur up to ten times per year, lasting up to six hours per event. Penalties for non-compliance are substantial. Remuneration is based on the results of the annual RPM capacity auctions in various PJM regions. Remuneration levels for the 2016-17 PJM year (which begins June 1, 2016) are in the $43,000 per MW range for most Virginia federal customers. Participants are also eligible to receive energy payments for actual reductions, if and when the program is called. 

  • The Economic Load Response program allows electricity users to provide load reductions in exchange for a payment based on hourly wholesale electricity prices. Participation is fully voluntary. Customers start by submitting load reduction bids (through their CSP) of at least 100 kW into the day-ahead energy market. Participants whose bids are accepted are paid for their load reductions based upon the day-ahead, hourly electricity market prices (the day-ahead “locational marginal price,” or LMP). Reductions are figured based on a customer baseline load (CBL), which is essentially the average loads for the same hours in four of the facility's previous non-responding days. Regardless of which type of firm it is, the CSP will generally offer to split the revenues with the customer at a pre-determined percentage. 

In both programs, participants can provide load reductions through curtailing electricity use or by operating on-site generation consistent with local environmental regulations and permits.

The TVA-EnerNOC Demand Response program provides payments to participants in exchange for agreeing to reduce electricity consumption during times of exceptionally high demand with a 30-minute notice. Demand response events may occur weekdays April-October between 12 and 8 p.m. and November-March between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m.  EnerNOC collaborates with customers to create an optimal demand reduction plan. Demand response efforts typically involve curtailing energy usage of such equipment as lighting, chillers, pumps and HVAC equipment. Interested customers may contact their local electricity distributor or fill out the program’s inquiry form.

Dominion Virginia Power’s Non-Residential Distributed Generation program offers a monthly incentive for customers that have backup generators and allow the company to remotely activate them during load curtailment events,

What distributed energy resource options are available to me?

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency provides information on programs that offer incentives for renewable distributed generation. The following programs may be of interest to federal customers:

  • TVA’s Renewable Standard Offer program provides power purchase plans of up to 20 years to developers of renewable projects (biomass combustion, biomass gasification, methane recovery, wind and solar) greater than 50 kW and up to 20 MW in size. Rates paid are based on seasonal time-of-day averages. To be eligible, projects must have gone on-line after October 1st, 2010. The energy seller must provide TVA with project financing and interconnection agreements as well as metering installation plans, and must sign over title to RECs and other environmental attributes generated by the system. The Solar Solutions Initiative pilot program offers additional incentives to participants in the standard program that use local NABCEP-certified installers. 

  • Through the Green Power Providers program, TVA will provide an up-front incentive of $1,000 and then purchase the output of a solar photovoltaic, wind, biomass, or small hydropower installation of up to 50 kW for ten years. The maximum installation size is 50 kW. Larger systems may qualify for the Renewable Standard Offer. Purchases must be brokered by a participating power distributor (generally, utilities that purchase TVA power).

  • Dominion Virginia Power will pay $0.15/kWh for the output of solar PV arrays up to 50 kW on a first-come, first-served basis through its Solar Purchase Program. Dominion’s contracts are for five years and include their taking ownership of a system’s renewable energy credits (RECs).

Are there energy efficiency programs sponsored by state government?

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy administers a small number of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. No programs are currently available to federal customers.

What additional opportunities are available to me?

Federal customers whose utilities have area-wide supply contracts through GSA (e.g., AGL Resources, Allegheny Power, Atmos Energy, Dominion Hope, Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, Virginia Electric and Power Company, American Electric Power Service Corp., and Washington Gas Light Co.), may be able to take advantage of 3rd-party financed energy efficiency projects called utility energy services contracts (UESCs). Information is available in GSA’s Energy Division Library. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.

PJM (see above in the demand response section) now allows energy efficiency projects to participate in its forward capacity markets, based on its Reliability Pricing Model (RPM). To be eligible, energy efficiency projects must reduce load continuously by at least 100 kW during peak summer hours. This load reduction can be bid into PJM’s annual (for three years in advance) and “residual” (nearer-term) capacity auctions, and if selected will receive the auction clearing price. Interested customers can participate through energy service companies conducting ESPCs or utilities executing UESCs at their sites.