Richmond, VA -- More than fifty organizations, businesses and local officials delivered a letter to Governor McAuliffe today, urging him to push for policies that make offshore wind power, which has vast potential in Virginia, a key part of the state’s energy supply.
The letter comes as Gov. McAuliffe is determining how to comply with the federal government’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which requires cuts in power plant pollution and a transition to clean energy.
“Governor McAuliffe has stated his strong support for offshore wind,” said Sarah Bucci, Campaign Director with Environment Virginia. “Given the strong support from Virginians to harness the pollution-free power of offshore wind, we urge the Governor to push for policies that put those words to action for clean energy.”
Offshore wind off the state’s coast could create 10,000 jobs for Virginia. The letter states that given the commonwealth's port facilities and location, if Virginia can move a substantial project forward in the near term, it would capture jobs and economic growth that could go to other states if Virginia lags behind.
"Rhode Island will be the first state on the Atlantic Coast to move forward with offshore wind construction this summer," said David Carr, General Counsel with the Southern Environmental Law Center. "Virginia is ready to reap the benefits of offshore wind, and we need leadership by Governor McAuliffe to capitalize on this major clean energy opportunity."
The letter cites the urgent need to ramp up wind power production to help curb the pollution fueling global warming. The letter states, “the Commonwealth has seen the highest levels of sea level rise of any state along the East Coast, and the Hampton Roads area is second only to New Orleans in its vulnerability to sea level rise. The risk that sea level rise and storm surges pose to valuable development along Virginia’s coastline, including military installations that drive Virginia’s coastal economy, highlights the urgent need for investments in clean, carbon-free energy sources.”
As states move forward with strategies to implement the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, offshore wind power offers a unique and scalable pollution-free power source for meeting local carbon emission reduction targets. The Clean Power Plan is scheduled to be finalized late this summer.
The letter called on Governor McAuliffe to use offshore wind to help the state meet its requirements under the Clean Power Plan and to advance policies that ensure a competitive market for offshore wind power in Virginia.
“We have vast, untapped potential to power the Eastern Seaboard with pollution-free wind energy,” said Bucci. “But, it’s up to our leaders to make sure we fulfill that potential.”
Environment Virginia is a state-wide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization. For more information visit www.environmentvirginia.org.