The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy is now the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy). The name change was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Ralph Northam in April 2021. It became official October 1.
“Virginia is all-in on clean energy,” said Northam. “We’ve passed one of the most sweeping clean energy laws in the country, and we are transitioning our electric grid to 100 percent renewable energy. These are exciting changes, and they mean new jobs, new investment, cleaner air, and a stronger economy.”
The agency’s name change and reorganization follows the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act. The act establishes a mandatory renewable portfolio standard to achieve 30 percent renewable energy by 2030, a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard, and the path to a carbon-free electric grid by 2045. The bill also declares that 16,100 megawatts of solar and onshore wind, 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind, and 2,700 megawatts of energy storage are in the public interest. This provides a pathway for clean energy resources to be constructed, while ensuring that the investments are made in a cost-effective way. The Virginia Clean Economy Act protects customers with a program that helps reduce electricity bills and brings energy efficiency savings to low-income households.
The agency’s new website is now live at energy.virginia.gov. Staff emails will also reflect the change, as the domain names will now be “@energy.virginia.gov.”
The legislation also changed the former Division of Energy to Renewable Energy, and Energy Efficiency and the former Division of Mined Land Reclamation were changed to Mined Land Repurposing.
Virginia Energy was created in 1985 as the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. At that time, the agency mostly served the mining industries, ensuring the safety of coal, mineral, gas, and oil workers and environmental compliance at each site. It also housed the state’s energy office, which has expanded significantly after the passing of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020.
Virginia Energy has nearly 200 employees across the Commonwealth, with offices in Big Stone Gap, Charlottesville, and Richmond. The agency serves as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Virginia State Energy Office and manages state-based clean energy policy and deployment initiatives. Virginia Energy serves as the regulatory agency for coal and mineral mining, as well as natural gas production. Federal grants are administered by Virginia Energy staff to reclaim historic mines through the Abandoned Mine Land program. It also houses Virginia’s Geology and Mineral Resources program.