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Energy Transition Initiative

Answering the Call for Clean Energy

In 2020, the Weldon Cooper Center launched the Energy Transition Initiative (ETI) to provide research and support for the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which mandates that Virginia be free of carbon emissions by 2050.  

Addressing the threat of climate change will require profound changes in our energy systems: a shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewables and other zero-carbon sources. The Energy Transition Initiative at the University of Virginia is dedicated to helping policy makers and other stakeholders navigate this challenge. We bring together experts in economics, policy, planning, and energy systems from the Weldon Cooper Center, Virginia Solar Initiative, Virginia Clean Energy Project, and other units at the University of Virginia. 

We focus on three main avenues to provide this support:

  1. Identifying pathways to a net-zero-carbon energy sector by 2050;
  2. Identifying roadblocks and reducing barriers to achieve these pathways;
  3. Serving as conveners to promote informed, engaged, and inclusive decision-making.

We advance these goals by researching clean energy and sustainability practices; by developing and maintaining tools to help localities understand the process, costs, and benefits of adopting cleaner energy technologies;  and by engaging directly with policymakers, energy providers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and other interested stakeholders to smooth the transition to a sustainable energy economy.

Housed within Economic & Policy Studies, the ETI is committed to conducting high quality research to inform policy and decision-making, and providing research-based resources, tools, and guidance for Virginia localities through the Virginia Solar Initiative. 

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Energy Research & Policy Analysis

Our research evaluates alternative technology pathways and policy options for decarbonizing energy systems and we are developing a suite of modeling tools to understand the interaction between clean energy sources, energy storage, smart distributed energy systems, the electrification of transportation, and more.
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Virginia Solar Initiative

The Virginia Solar Initiative offers solar-related guidance to localities to reduce policy uncertainty at the local level, enhance environmental and social equity outcomes, and provide related support and analysis on land use, economic, and policy matters.

Our Team