Bill Bolling: Working toward energy security
Column by Bill Bolling
This week I had the privilege of announcing an $800,000 grant to construct a new Wind Energy Training Center at James Madison University. This is the latest in a series of steps that Gov. McDonnell and I have taken to make Virginia the East Coast’s energy leader.
Gov. McDonnell and I understand that doing more to develop domestic sources of energy will help our nation achieve a greater degree of energy security. We also understand that expanding energy production can help Virginia achieve a greater degree of economic security.
As we have said many times, more energy = more jobs for Virginia!
Our statewide energy policy is based on an “all of the above” approach.
We want to do more to develop traditional sources of energy in Virginia. That means more nuclear, more coal and more natural gas production. It also means developing our offshore energy resources at the earliest possible opportunity.
Likewise, we support efforts to do more to develop renewable sources of energy in Virginia. That’s why we have take steps to expand wind energy, solar energy and bio mass energy production in our state.
Finally, we support responsible energy conservation, as long as these policies are balanced and do not adversely impact our efforts to create jobs in Virginia.
This week our focus was on wind energy.
Virginia has great potential to produce energy from onshore wind by constructing wind farms along the mountain ranges of the Alleghany and Appalachian mountains.
We are also uniquely positioned to take advantage of offshore wind production. The shallow waters off the coast of Virginia could make our state one of the best locations along the East Coast for offshore wind energy development.
It is important to remember that energy production is just one of the ways the Commonwealth can benefit from expanding our wind energy resources. We also have the potential of attracting new companies to Virginia that manufacture the infrastructure necessary to support the wind industry. These companies could create a lot of new jobs for the people of Virginia.
The $800,000 grant we provided to James Madison University will enable us to construct a state of the art wind training facility in Harrisonburg. This facility will help explore new ways to maximize wind energy production in Virginia, and provide workers with the skills they need to service wind energy businesses that locate in our state.
There is more that we can do to promote wind energy in Virginia and we will be looking for ways to do this in the months to come. The wind industry will expand greatly in the next decade, and we must act now to put Virginia at the forefront of that growth.
By continuing to invest in our wind energy infrastructure, by streamlining the regulatory approval process for wind energy projects, and by providing more incentives to attract wind energy companies to Virginia, we can take advantage of this growing and important part of the energy sector.