Category Archives: Resources

Resilient Virginia News: August 2019

What’s New

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Tuesday, September 17th | Richmond Convention Center | Richmond, Virginia

You’re invited to attend the first Virginia Clean Energy Summit. The conference goal is to highlight opportunities and encourage collaboration that accelerate the use of more energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, EVs, and other clean energy solutions in the state. Conference attendees will include representatives from businesses, state and local governments, academia, and NGOs.

Who You Will Hear

  • Morning Keynote: Governor Ralph Northam
  • Lunch Keynote: Claire Broido Johnson, SunEdison Co-Founder
  • Breakout Session Speakers from Solar, Wind, and Energy Efficiency Businesses, State and Local Governments, Universities, and Associations

Topics Will Include

  • Transforming the energy grid;
  • Local government, residential, and business market segment solutions;
  • Finance options, including C-PACE and private investment;
  • Local energy security with microgrids and innovative technology;
  • Utility energy efficiency programs;
  • Electricity rate design;
  • Transportation and mobility; and
  • Solar, wind, batteries, electric vehicles, and smart building technology.

Conference organizers have secured speakers from across the state and the nation to discuss Virginia’s clean energy development — see the lineup here and register to attend.

Register Now

Co-hosted by MDV-SEIA, Resilient Virginia, Virginia AEE, VAEEC, and VA-REA, with supporting roles from JMU’s Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy, the VA DMME, and Viridiant.

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Resilient Virginia Conference — Sessions Reflect Rural/Urban Theme

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

The 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, held at the UVA Darden School of Business, brought together over 300 motivated participants from state and local governments, from universities and community organizations, and from the business sector. Speakers and attendees shared their progress in planning and implementing resiliency activities around the state and at the regional and national levels.

Our theme this year — Connecting Rural and Urban Communities for a Resilient Future — was reflected throughout the conference.

Annette Osso, Managing Director of Resilient Virginia, provided introductory remarks on the rural-urban interdependency dynamic that was summarized in this graphic.

Urban-Rural Interdependence

The theme also set the stage for an innovative exchange of ideas in the early afternoon Plenary Session with Anthony Flaccavento, SCALE; Perkins + Will representatives, Amy Thompson and Jon Penndorf; and Hamilton Lombard from UVA’s Cooper Weldon Center, led by Jonah Fogel, from the UVA Environmental Resilience Institute.

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference Plenary

One of the points made by the Plenary speakers was the fact that while urban and rural areas may not be seen as “equal,” they both have vital, if sometimes not fully recognized interdependencies. These include contributions to the economy, access to local foods, improving health, and protection of natural resources.

Anthony Flaccavento commented on the “mutuality” factor, for example, that rural communities can benefit from the experience of cities and urban areas in adopting smart growth planning policies. The Perkins + Will speakers mentioned the importance of areas surrounding urban centers to help address increasing stormwater and flooding occurances.

Speakers also commented on the “food desert” problems in both rural and urban areas, with the need and opportunity for a win-win dynamic of supporting the livelihoods of local farmers while bringing fresher, more nutritious foods to neighborhoods.

View Anthony Flaccavento’s and the Perkins+Will presentations on the conference webpage.

In addition, the Conference Breakout Sessions carried forth the Rural/Urban theme by bringing together examples of resiliency initiatives from across the state and region. These ranged from the resiliency role of ecosystems and agriculture to the progress being made in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia on climate adaptation plans for infrastructure.

We have heard much positive feedback about the event, including these comments:

“Great turnout and a lot of fun with smart people ready to take action!”
—Hilari Varnadore, Director, LEED for Cities and Communities, USGBC

“Inspiring to see so many people focused on the same resiliency challenges.”

“Great turnout, great speakers, great conference!”
— Chris McDonald, Director of Government Relations, Virginia Association of Counties

Look for not only the session PowerPoint presentations, but also the Plenary Session videos to be posted on our website in the near future.


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Land and Natural Resource Use Loom Large for Climate Impact: Two Articles Present Global and Regional Perspectives

By Tracy Garland, Social Media Director, Resilient Virginia

Land Use and Climate Impact

Study Highlights Land Use as Climate Concern and Part of Solution

A new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the importance of land as both a potential source of greenhouse gas emissions and as a climate change solution. IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) concluded that keeping global warming well below 2°C can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, including land use and agriculture.

The IPCC reported that about 23% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions come from changes to landscapes for agriculture, forestry, and other uses. On the other hand, land sequesters almost a third of all human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. However, in order to scale back rising temperatures, we need to change the way we produce food and manage land.

The report highlights several areas of concern:

  • Current land use management techniques are exacerbating climate change.
  • Land is a critical carbon sink, removing more emissions than they generate.
  • Land is being negatively impacted by climate change.
  • Several promising “land-centric” proposals exist to reduce emissions and/or remove carbon while providing other significant benefits.
  • All proposed solutions require careful study of risks and trade-offs.

Of particular concern when considering proposed land-based climate solutions are their potential impacts on other land needs, such as food and water security. In addition, if climate change solutions are not more actively pursued in the energy and transport sectors, land-based solutions will become even more necessary.

The primary conclusion of the report is that, when done correctly, land-based solutions can reduce emissions while providing other environmental and social benefits. However, when done poorly, land-based solutions can exacerbate food security and environmental problems. Careful risk and trade-off analysis are necessary to successfully perform this delicate balancing act.

Sources:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, August 2019, IPCC.

7 Things to Know About the IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land. August 8, 2019, Kelly Levin and Sarah Parsons, World Resources Institute.

Model Shows Effects of Climate Change in Appalachian Regions

Appalachian RegionsThe Appalachian Mountains are known for their high peaks and deep valleys, but what is often underappreciated is the role that they play in supplying water to the Appalachian region and beyond. A new study highlights how climate change could play a role in the ability of the mountains to continue to provide water security both within and beyond the region’s borders.

Important population centers in the eastern and midwestern United States rely on the Appalachian mountain region for water supply. The high Appalachian mountain ridges are able to hold moisture from the atmosphere, essentially acting as a reservoir, before sending that water down rivers and streams and through aquifers to supply water to millions of people. Therefore, changes to the climate of the Appalachian region can have far-reaching impacts on water supply in a large area of the southeastern U.S.

Researchers at West Virginia University’s Mountain Hydrology Laboratory recently released their findings on the potential impact of climate change on water security in the seven-state Appalachian region. They found that the Appalachian region will be getting hotter, drier, and yet wetter by 2050 if nothing is done to curb climate change.

Hotter: as the global temperature rises, Appalachia could become five to ten degrees hotter by 2050.
Drier: As the atmosphere warms, water that is held in vegetation, soils, and water bodies evaporates, causing dryer conditions. Crops and the animals and humans that rely upon those crops will be negatively impacted.
Wetter: The rapid evaporation from the vegetation, soils and waterbodies then saturates the atmosphere, causing pouring rains. With the heavy rain comes landslides and floods.

Thus, climate change disrupts the ancient process of water being stored and released, creating times when there will be too much, then too little water. Therefore, everyone including governments, businesses, hospitals, and education institutions will all need plan for, and adapt to, these feast or famine scenarios.

The researchers also found that if we were able to stabilize climate change now, then by 2050, the climate system could return to normal conditions. However, if we continue high emissions “business as usual,” then precipitation in the region will continue to increase throughout the 21st century. The study also points out the importance of establishing policies to combat climate change at all levels, from local to global.

Sources:
Appalachia to become Hotter Wetter AND Drier in Climate Model with Severe Economic Impacts. August 11, 2019, Robbie Harris, WVTF.

Full report: Seasonal Changes in Water and Energy Balances over the Appalachian Region and Beyond throughout the Twenty-First Century. Authors, Rodrigo Fernandez and Nicolas Zegre. West Virginia University. Published May 9, 2019, American Meteorological Society Journal Online.


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Local Education on Electric Vehicles

Electrify Your Ride VAA new statewide campaign with the goal of building interest and adoption of electric vehicles is starting this Fall. Electrify Your Ride VA will hold local events around the state (see the Resilient Calendar listings) that will feature local EV owners and their cars, encourage hands-on learning with fellow community members, and point people toward more information such as an easy-to-use website that includes dealers who have agreed to provide EVs at discounted rates.

The project is a collaboration between nonprofits, Generation 180, Virginia Clean Cities, and the Green Energy Consumer Alliance. Since over 45% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in Virginia come from the transportation sector, this campaign will work to benefit the health of individuals and the environment by encouraging EV purchases. Find out more at generation180.org/electrify-your-ride.

If you would like additional information about the role of transportation in mitigating carbon emissions, the role the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in regional transportation initiatives, and the electrification of the automobile industry, explore the presentations by Alleyn Harned, Chris Bast, and Rebecca Duff from the 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference. See the link below.

Transportation’s Role in Mitigation — Breakout Session

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, July 17, 2019

SPEAKERS

Alleyn Harned, Executive Director, Virginia Clean Cities
Decarbonizing Transportation, the Big Picture

Chris Bast, Chief Deputy, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
The VW Settlement and Regional Electrification

Rebecca Duff, Senior Research Associate, Battan Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UVA
Path to 2060: Electrification of the Auto Industry


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Volunteer Thank You!

Thank you Barbara!Resilient Virginia would like to send out a well-earned “Thank You” to Barbara Swart — community activist and concerned environmentalist — who has been our “Calendar Event Volunteer” for the last four years!

AND… We would like to announce that a volunteer position is open. Please contact Annette Osso (osso@resilientvirginia.org) if you would like to become the next “Calendar Event Volunteer.”

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Resilience Events Calendar

Here are some highlights of events happening this Fall.

September 14, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, 9AM–1PM, Dorey Park Farmers Market, Richmond, VA.

September 15, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, 10AM–2PM, Sprint Pavilion, Charlottesville, VA.

September 17, 2019: Virginia Clean Energy Summit. Hosted by VA-Renewable Energy Alliance with Resilient Virginia and others as partners. See our special discount offer to Members (below) and register today at vacleanenergysummit.org.

September 21, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, Time and Location TBD. Roanoke, VA.

September 22, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, Time and Location TBD, Fairfax, VA.

Check our Resilient Events Calendar on a regular basis to find out what is happening in Virginia, around the nation, and virtually through webinars.


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Membership

Special Offer — Limited Time! Now through September 10.
We are offering you a Member-Only discount to attend the

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Join or renew today!

We’ll send you the Member Discount Code.
Register for the Clean Energy Summit using the Discount Code and save $50 on your registration.

Resilient Virginia is on a mission to

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities to build resiliency in the face of challenges to community prosperity, national security, and changing climate.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

2018 National Solar Jobs Census

By Tracy Garland, Director of Social Media, Resilient Virginia

The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2018 is the ninth annual report on the size and scope of the American solar workforce. Based on a rigorous survey of solar employers, it is the most comprehensive analysis of solar labor market trends in the United States.

According to the report, America now has over 242,000 solar workers, with nearly 4,000 of those right here in Virginia. Solar jobs in Virginia increased 9% between 2017 and 2018, putting Virginia in 20th place for solar jobs by state. 

Resources for More Information

Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2018

2017 Solar Jobs Census map of Virginia is an interactive source of information about jobs by congressional district, county and metropolitan area.

About The Solar Foundation

logoa nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar and solar-compatible technologies worldwide. We believe that increasing access to this clean, abundant, reliable, and affordable energy source will lift up people’s lives and bring about a prosperous future for all.

RELi: USGBC’s New Resilient Design Rating System

RELi, the U.S. Green Building Council’s new standard for projects designed to endure and recover from extreme weather, is a national consensus standard. It was developed through an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process, and focuses on creating resilient buildings and communities.

RELi handbookRELi (pronounced ‘rely’) is a comprehensive response to the urgent need for resilience in design and planning. Maintaining a reasonable level of safety and quality in our day-to-day lives now requires that we collectively respond to weather extremes, economic disruptions, and resource depletions — all of which are becoming commonplace globally, regionally, and locally. Resilience involves interactive social, economic, and environmental elements that respond to both acute short-term and systemic long-term topics related to the well-being of our society and planet.

USGBC and GBCI have now adopted the RELI standard. GBCI and the RELi resilience standard will work together to develop buildings and communities that offer greater adaptability and resilience to weather and natural disasters.

RELi’s development was led foundationally by the global architecture firm of Perkins+Will, with Eaton Corporation, Deloitte Consulting, and Impact Infrastructure providing vital content expertise and critical assessment.

For more information on RELi, click here to view the RELi handbook online, or click here for information on a Resiliency Education Series event featuring Dan Slone.

Resilient Virginia Supports These Summer Resiliency Events

July 19: Resilient Virginia Annual Meeting

You are invited to Resilient Virginia’s July 19th Annual Meeting to hear more details about upcoming Resilient Virginia activities, to meet our Board and Advisory members, and to add your voice on local communities’ and state agencies’ resiliency priorities.

Resiliency and the Rural/Urban Interface
The 2018 Resilient Virginia Annual Meeting
July 19, 2018  •  Noon–3:00PM
CitySpace
100 5th Street NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902

$20.00 for members; $25.00 for non-members.

Become a Member       Registration Closed       View the Agenda

Resilient Virginia invites your active support for these new initiatives by:

▪ Volunteering (contact Annette Osso to join a Planning Committee or contribute to our newsletters),
▪ Becoming a Member or Annual Sponsor.


Resilient Virginia is teaming with groups around the Commonwealth to offer the following events:

July 17: Collaborations on Flooding Adaptation
Tuesday, July 17 • 12 noon–1:30pm • Damuth Trane, 1100 Cavalier Boulevard, Chesapeake, Virginia

Skip Stiles from Wetlands Watch will present on the Collaborative Laboratory on Sea Level Rise and Flooding Adaptation — “Collaboratory” — a program to bring university programs with a community-based learning component (senior design/practicum/capstone studio, etc.) into the tidal localities in Virginia to work on practical approaches to adapting to increased flooding from rain and tides.

The effort is a partnership between Virginia Sea Grant, the U.S. Green Building Council, and Wetlands Watch (a Norfolk-based environmental organization) and has been running for three years. The goal is to help localities find solutions while students gain real-world expertise in the growing area of practice around climate change/sea level rise. Past projects have generated many millions of dollars in implementation funding and participating students are gaining employment.

Register Now

August 25: PrepareAthonPrepareAthon 2018
Saturday, August 25 • Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond

Celebrate preparedness during PrepareAthon, a free festival that teaches the community how to be more resilient when disaster strikes! Uncover life-saving information to protect your family during an emergency and learn more about resiliency. Local experts will discuss the impacts of climate change on human health, the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. Explore resiliency-themed climate change activities in the Museum, including NOAA Science on a Sphere® demonstrations, hands-on experiments in Eco Lab and beyond.

Find Out More

Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Pilot Project

Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Pilot ProjectAfter two years, the Hampton Roads Sea level Rise and Resilience Intergovernmental Planning Pilot Project (Intergovernmental Pilot Project or IPP), convened at Old Dominion University, has come to a successful close. Although the conclusion of the project is different than originally imagined by the drafters of the IPP Charter, the process in and of itself brought hundreds of stakeholders together, built lasting and ongoing relationships, and produced many workable recommendations for the region that can be accomplished by a variety of partnerships. The key deliverables include a whole of government mitigation and adaptation planning process and an integrated regional recommendation, both which can serve as a template for other regions. Additionally the IPP demonstrated a new role for an urban campus to act as a community convener, matching focused research and curriculum development with public service across the university and the region.

Initiated in June 2014, the IPP was an effort to use the knowledge, skills and expertise of all regional stakeholders to create a framework or template for intergovernmental strategic planning that could be used outside the region; and, to implement that integrated strategy in Hampton Roads, Virginia, creating an effective and efficient method for planning holistically for sea level rise and recurrent flooding. This “Whole of Government and Community” effort would not have been successful without the hundreds of stakeholders and volunteer leaders from across all levels of government, academia, and the community who participated out of a sense of duty to their community and commitment to the collaboration.

Knowing water knows no jurisdictional bounds, a high level of intergovernmental collaboration is necessary to develop integrated regional solutions and implement effective sea level rise preparedness and resilience strategies. Additionally, the wider community in Hampton Roads recognizes that they too will be affected by not only sea level rise itself, but also the adaptation strategies implemented in preparation. Executive Summary Phase 2 Report: Recommendations, Accomplishments and Lessons Learned Executive Summary 11 Phase 1 of the project, from June 2014 through June 2015, saw the drafting and signing of a Charter, the recruitment of a steering committee, a host of events, and the development of working group and advisory committees comprised of subject matter experts. Phase 2, from June 2015 through June 2016, included heavy discussion with regard to ongoing strategies for intergovernmental collaboration as well as research, a number of case studies carried out by committees and working groups, and the careful development of recommendations for the region.

The IPP concludes successfully with a series of recommendations from each working group and committee as well as a final resolution drafted by the Legal Working Group and containing the consensus views of steering committee members. Though the recommendations vary in specificity and subject area, a few themes are clear. In order to move forward regionally, local stakeholders need to maintain, institutionalize and build relationships with each other in order to facilitate effective collaboration and information sharing. Institutionalizing these relationships and partnerships is key, as people shift positions throughout their careers. Additionally, while more data is needed, the methods by which that data is integrated and shared are equally important. Further, some form of the Whole of Government and Community approach that focuses on the watershed as opposed to jurisdictional boundaries is essential to accomplishing the recommendations set forth in this report.

The IPP has been a success because of the dedicated volunteers committed to a resilient Hampton Roads. During the last two years, this project advanced regional adaptation through the evaluation and recommendation of a future governance structure, the development of working group and committee recommendations, building public awareness, building awareness of the need for federal agency involvement locally and building relationships among numerous organizations involved in the Pilot Project. All of this work, which in pieces may be specific only to a unique circumstance or area, when taken as a whole, brings foundational change. It builds on previous work accomplished by other leaders in the Hampton Roads region and should be leveraged in the future to accelerate regional adaptation.

Click here for the full report.

Climate Change in the American Mind

Climate Change in the American MindThe latest survey from George Mason University’s Center for Climate Communication reveals that the number of Americans “very worried” about global warming has reached a record high since first measured in 2008.

A majority of Americans (63%) say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about the issue. Likewise, Americans increasingly view global warming as a threat. Since Spring 2015, more Americans think it will harm them personally, their own family, people in the U.S., people in developing countries, and future generations.

You can read the full survey report here.

Resilient Virginia Provides Local Governments Guide to Resiliency Planning

In collaboration with GoGreen Virginia, a Virginia Municipal League and Virginia Association of Counties program, Resilient Virginia is offering a guide to resiliency planning — the Resiliency Checklist. Formulated to add credits to the annual Green Government Challenge, the guide can also be utilized separately by local governments wanted a starting point to tackle comprehensive mitigation and adaptation approaches to disasters, climate extremes, and other risks faced by communities.

Resilient Virginia plans to work with Planning District Commissions to develop workshops around this guide to assist local governments in gaining the competency to move forward in resiliency planning. You can review an brief presentation on the Resiliency Checklist from the Resilient Virginia Conference here and the entire document here.

Resiliency Checklist
Click to view the Resiliency Checklist presentation

Costs of Doing Nothing: Economic Consequences of Not Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Hampton Roads Region

Costs of Doing NothingRecent studies have pointed out the economic costs of rising temperatures, increased sea levels, and extreme weather events — all factors associated with climate change impact in the Southeast United States.

Costs of Doing Nothing: Economic Consequences of Not Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Hampton Roads Region, a 2016 report from Virginia Coastal Policy Center, College of William & Mary Law School, narrows down the data to the Hampton Roads area. This report looks at several scenarios for sea level rise and the economic consequences.

Read more

Climate Change in the American Mind: November 2016

Climate Change in the American Mind: November 2016Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

In the wake of a contentious U.S. election and despite the election of a president who has publicly described global warming as a hoax, Americans are increasingly sure global warming is happening, according to this national survey conducted after the presidential election (November–December 2016). The report includes many other interesting results, including measures of public feelings of anger, fear, and hope about global warming and the frames by which Americans conceptualize the issue (e.g., as an environmental, scientific, political, moral, or religious issue).

View the report here.

Opportunities to Enhance the Nation’s Resilience to Climate Change

Resilience Opportunities ReportThe White House Council on Environmental Quality sponsored a November webinar reviewing the Resilience Opportunities Report, Opportunities to Enhance the Nation’s Resilience to Climate Change, from the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. This report discusses the steps that the Obama administration has taken to address resiliency building initiatives and outlines key opportunities for advancing climate resilience moving forward.

Read more

The Third National Climate Assessment Report

Third National Climate Assessment ReportThe National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced this report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

Visit the National Climate Assessment website for the full online report.

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