McDonnell signs green energy legislation
Edited by Chris Graham
Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law a number of green energy bills passed by the General Assembly this session. A signing ceremony to mark the signings was held at Old Dominion University in Norfolk today.
Among the measures receiving the governor’s signature was his legislation to provide a $500 tax credit for each green job created in the Commonwealth; a measure establishing the Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation; the creation of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority; and legislation rewarding investor-owned electric utilities for using wind energy.
The governor also signed legislation to authorize investor-owned natural gas utilities to petition the State Corporation Commission to implement a separate rider that will allow for recovery of certain costs associated with eligible infrastructure replacement projects; to add improvement of infrastructure such as refueling stations to the Alternative Fuels Revolving Fund; and to give localities the authority to, in order to secure loans for the initial acquisition and installation of clean energy improvements, place liens equal in value to the loan against any property where such clean energy systems are being installed.
The bill signing took place just two days after Virginia was given federal approval to become the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce oil and natural gas offshore. Through a policy proposal promoted by McDonnell, 20 percent of future revenues received by the state from this offshore energy development will go to green energy research and development at the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium on ODU’s campus.
“Currently, Virginia is the second largest importer of electricity in America, trailing only California. We need to take immediate steps to produce more energy right here, and to do so in a comprehensive manner,” McDonnell said. “We need more oil, coal and natural gas, but we also need more wind, solar, biomass and nuclear production as well. When I came to Old Dominion University almost exactly one year ago, I pledged to take a comprehensive approach to make Virginia The Energy Capital of the East Coast. With the recent news that Virginia will be the first state on the East Coast to produce energy offshore, and this bill signing event today, we are making significant progress in this effort, and doing it in a bipartisan manner.”