CASTLEWOOD – Governor McAuliffe today announced that Russell County Public Schools will receive $5.6 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds from the VirginiaSAVES program. Established in 2015, the VirginiaSAVES program is the Commonwealth’s first statewide Green Community Program. The program is administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) and is used to help public and private sector partners reduce the costs of financing clean energy projects, such as energy-efficiency upgrades and solar facilities.
“Today’s announcement is a great opportunity for the Commonwealth to further our efforts to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy generation in the new Virginia economy, and I thank Russell County Public Schools and Trane for partnering on this project,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Now more than ever, we need to think differently about what a growing economy looks like in this region and how we can work together to diversify the economic base and bring high-growth industries to the area. I’m pleased that we are able to do just that here in Russell County today. Projects like these are creating jobs of the future that will help rebuild the local economy, drive investments to improve local infrastructure, and create a better way of life for families.”
“The clean energy sector in Virginia is growing and holds great potential for the new Virginia economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “In less than two years of existence, VirginiaSAVES has provided $41 million to 10 projects statewide which will result in nearly 680 new jobs over the life of these projects. Through this program, we are lowering barriers to deploying clean energy technology that reduces electricity consumption, carbon emissions, and water use while creating jobs and saving taxpayer dollars.”
With these bonds, the Russell County Public School system will make energy-efficient improvements to 16 buildings at nine schools throughout the County. These investments will reduce energy consumption and bills, while upgrading the learning environment for Russell County students. In total, Russell County will save more than 2,700 megawatt hours, 2,350 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and nearly 3,200 kilo gallons of water per year. The County will also save $7.6 million in utility bills and $1.9 million in interest savings over the life of the project. In addition to these benefits, this investment will also bring job opportunities to the community, creating 108 jobs for the duration of the project.
“Today’s announcement would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Russell County Board of Supervisors, our School Board, our partnership with Trane, and Governor McAuliffe,” said Dr. Greg Brown, District Superintendent of Russell County Public Schools. “Thanks to these partnerships, we have an affordable means to finance projects that will make our school system more energy efficient and cost-saving by replacing coal-fired furnaces and boilers, aging air conditioning and chiller units, and outdated lighting at nine different schools throughout the County.”
VirginiaSAVES (Sustainable and Verifiable Energy Savings) is administered by Clean Source Capital and Abundant Power Group. The program is funded through Virginia’s allocation of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs). These QECBs were allocated to Virginia in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Energy and re-authorized for use by Governor McAuliffe in 2014 under Executive Order 36. To date, the VirginiaSAVES program has provided $41 million to 10 projects statewide. It is estimated that these projects will save more than 15,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually and cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 13,000 metric tons. The VirginiaSAVES program will result in annual utility savings of $2.3 million, which equates to $53 million in savings over the life of the projects.
More information on the VirginiaSAVES program can be found at www.dmme.virginia.gov.