It is the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia to foster the development, production, and utilization of geothermal resources, prevent waste of geothermal resources, protect correlative rights to the resource, protect existing high quality state waters and safeguard potable waters from pollution, safeguard the natural environment, and promote geothermal and water resource conservation and management. The Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy is responsible for implementing regulations pertaining to the exploration, development, production, and conservation of geothermal resources.
The Gas and Oil Act addresses the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas resources in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It contains provisions pertaining to wells and well spacing, permits and fees, ownership of coalbed methane gas, and land leases. No county, city, town or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth may impose any condition, or require any other local license, permit, fee or bond to perform any gas, oil, or geophysical operations which varies from or is in addition to the requirements of this chapter.
The Virginia Enterprise Zone Job Creation Grant provides cash grants to businesses located in Enterprise zones that create permanent new jobs over a four-job threshold. State incentives are available to businesses and zone investors who create jobs and invest in real property within the boundaries of enterprise zones. The positions must pay at least 175 percent of the federal minimum wage rate and the availability of health benefits. The cash grant maximum is $500 per position and may be claimed for up to five years.
The 2010 Virginia Energy Plan affirms the state's support for the development of renewable energy. The Plan assesses the state’s energy picture through an examination of the state’s primary energy sources: electricity, coal, nuclear, natural gas, renewables, and petroleum.
The Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act constitutes the main legislation in Virginia that pertains to the regulation of the state's electric utilities. The Act directs the State Corporation Commission to construct regulations for electric utilities, and contains information on rate regulations. Section 56-585.2 specifically pertains to the integration of renewable energy sources into the electric grid through the state's renewable portfolio program. More specific regulations can be found in the state's Administrative Code.
The Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant is a discretionary cash grant, designed to assist and encourage companies to invest and create new employment opportunities by locating significant headquarters, administrative or service sector operations in Virginia. The program requires a capital investment of at least $5 million or $6,500 per job (whichever is greater) and job creation thresholds ranging between 200-400 depending upon the locality.
The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VACEDA) was created in 1988 to encourage economic development in the western section of the state. The Authority administers incentive and financing programs designed to encourage new job creation and economic diversification, specifically in the electronic information technology, energy, education, and emerging technology sectors.
This legislation implements the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and establishes a statewide regulatory program for reclamation following coal surface mining activities. The Division of Mined Land Reclamation may also establish additional regulations for reclamation following coal exploration activities which substantially disturb the land surface. The Act contains additional information on reclamation plans, permitting procedures, inspections, and liability.
The Virginia Capital Access Program (CAP), in partnership with Virginia’s Small Business Financing Authority, provides access to capital for small businesses. Businesses must apply to participating banks for a traditional loan, and the lender advises the company of enrollment in CAP. The program offers loan guarantees on a portfolio of loans through a loan loss reserve, which it establishes at each participating bank. Funds can be used for general working capital and fixed-asset financing. The maximum loan amount is $250,000.
Virginia’s 26 designated Technology Zones offer tax relief in the form of abatements, credits, deductions, deferrals, exemptions, or rebates. Local governments may designate technology zones to promote industry growth. Alternative energy is a qualifying technology in some counties. Qualified industries locating in these zones may receive permit waivers, special zoning treatment, and tax incentives for up to ten years.