McAuliffe touts solar, wind energy for Virginia

Source: By Associated Press  • Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Federal dollars that have sustained the economies of northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, which has a huge military footprint, can’t be relied on in the future and an energy-based economy could be the solution, he said.

 “Folks, those days are over,” McAuliffe told an audience of energy entrepreneurs, business representatives and environmentalists at the Science Museum of Virginia. “We need to build a new Virginia economy.”

The energy plan, which goes to the General Assembly, was filed with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy two weeks ago.

It promotes an “all of the above” strategy, but McAuliffe stressed the state must diversify its energy portfolio and promote more wind, biofuels and nuclear, in addition to solar. In terms of solar power, Virginia lags its neighbors, he said.

“Virginia needs to be a leader and we have not been in a leader in this area,” McAuliffe said.

The energy plan’s release also included the announcement that a state authority would be created to promote the solar industry. A similar authority already promotes offshore winds.

McAuliffe also promoted offshore wind development. Dominion Virginia Power holds the lease on 112,800 acres in the Atlantic about 27 miles off the coast for the development of wind power.

McAuliffe said the state has the deep-water port and infrastructure in Hampton Roads, a shipbuilding center, upon which an offshore wind industry could develop.