L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Damian Pitt

Damian Pitt

Associate professor

Raleigh Building, Room 3016B Phone: (804) 828-7397 Email: dpitt@vcu.edu


  • Solar energy policy and planning
  • Climate action planning
  • Collaborative environmental planning


B.S., Sociology, University of Tennessee
M.C.R.P., University of Oregon
Ph.D., Planning, Governance and Globalization, Virginia Polytechnic University


Intro to Urban and Regional Planning, Environmental Policy and Planning, Sustainable Energy Policy and Planning, Great Cities of the World

Research interests

State and local energy and climate policy, local climate action planning, grid integration and permitting issues for renewable energy systems, land use impacts of utility-scale solar


Dr. Damian Pitt’s work examines opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through energy conservation, renewable energy use, land use and transportation policies. He focuses on community-engaged and applied research, which brings together the talent and resources of the university to work on diverse collaborations that benefit the people and communities of the commonwealth. 

He has written numerous academic articles and professional reports, including recent studies for The Nature Conservancy, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the City of Richmond’s Office of Sustainability. His most prominent academic publications investigate the factors behind local government adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, and in particular their use of collaborative planning techniques to develop their clean energy strategies. He teaches a variety of courses on urban planning and energy and environmental policy.

Pitt currently serves as the Associate Director of Policy and Community Engagement for the VCU Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environment. He has also served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority, on the Richmond 300 Master Plan Advisory Commission, and on the board of directors for the Virginia chapter of the American Planning Association, among other positions. Prior to his academic career, he worked for Cogan Owens Greene, a nationally respected urban planning consulting firm in Portland, Oregon.

Selected publications

Pitt, D., and Oakley, D. (2024). “Assessing the Benefits of Distributed Solar in Virginia: 2024 Update and Status Report.” Report to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Forthcoming.

Pitt, D., Suen, I., et al. (2022). “Investing in Virginia through Energy Efficiency: An Analysis of the Impacts of RGGI and the HIEE Program.” https://rampages.us/wilderresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/37363/2023/01/Pitt-et-al.-2023-Analysis-of-the-Impacts-of-RGGI-and-the-HIEE-Program-1.pdf

Michaud, G., and Pitt, D. (2019): “Non-Utility Photovoltaic Deployment in the US: Evaluation of State-Level Policy Drivers.” Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment. 38 (3) 52-80. https://doi.org/10.1080/10485236.2019.12043348.

Pitt, D. (2018). “Comparative Analysis of Solar Energy Grid Integration Best Practices in the USA.” Report to Ohio University, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, for inclusion in “Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Solar Energy Deployment in Southeastern Ohio.” 

Pitt, D., Michaud, G, and Duggan, A. (2018). “Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of Distributed Solar Energy in Virginia (USA): a Case Study of Collaborative Energy Planning.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 61 (11) 2032-2049. https://doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2017.1381074

Pitt, D., and Congreve, A. (2016). “Collaborative Approaches to Local Climate Change and Clean Energy Initiatives in the USA and England.” Local Environment. 22 (9) 1124-1141. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2015.1120277.  

Pitt, D., and Michaud, G. (2015). “Assessing the Value of Distributed Solar Energy Generation.” Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports. 2 (3) 105-113.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40518-015-0030-0

Pitt, D., and Michaud, G. (2014). “Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of Distributed Solar Generation in Virginia.” Report from the Virginia Solar Stakeholders Group to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy. 

Pitt, D., and Bassett, E. (2014). “Innovation and the Role of Collaborative Planning in Local Clean Energy Policy.” Environmental Policy & Governance. 24 (6) 377-390.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eet.1653.  

Pitt, D., and Bassett, E. (2013): “Collaborative Planning for Clean Energy Initiatives in Small to Mid-Sized Cities.” Journal of the American Planning Association 79 (4) 280-294.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01944363.2014.914846

Pitt, D. (2013). “Evaluating the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Benefits of Compact Housing Development.”  Journal of Environmental Planning & Management 56 (4) 588-606.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09640568.2012.692894

Pitt, D. (2010). “Harnessing Community Energy: The Keys to Climate Mitigation Policy Adoption in U.S. Municipalities.”  Local Environment 15 (8) 717-729. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2010.509388

Pitt, D., and Randolph, J. (2009). “Identifying Obstacles to Community Climate Protection Planning.”  Environment and Planning C: Government & Policy 27 (5) 841-857.  http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1068/c0871.