Virginia enters Wind Energy Consortium

Edited by Chris Graham

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed onto a Memorandum of Understanding with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and nine East Coast governors, to establish the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium.

Through this consortium, Gov. McDonnell will encourage the environmentally-responsible development of wind energy, and other sources of renewable energy, off Virginia’s coast.  In addition, it was announced earlier today by the Department of the Interior that a regional renewable energy office will be located in Virginia.      

“It’s no secret that we need to develop more domestic energy. It’s a matter of national and economic security and it will create much needed jobs and opportunities for Virginians,” McDonnell said.  “I have long advocated an all of the above approach to our energy needs. It’s imperative that we develop all of our domestic energy sources including wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas.  Today is a major step forward in the effort to make Virginia a national and global leader in offshore wind production.”

Several wind energy projects for the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf have been proposed for East Coast states, positioning the region to tap into the enormous potential of wind power in the U.S.  Developing this resource could create thousands of manufacturing, construction and operations jobs and displace older, inefficient fossil-fueled generating plants, helping significantly to combat climate change.

Salazar announced during a February 19, 2010, meeting with governors and representatives of Atlantic coast states that he was forming a consortium to discuss a regional approach to wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf.  All Atlantic coast states were invited to join.  The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Secretary Salazar and the governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Together, the department and the Atlantic governors will use this agreement to facilitate federal-state cooperation for commercial wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf off of the Atlantic coast through collaborative efforts on issues of mutual interest.  Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the consortium will develop an action plan that sets forth priorities, goals, specific recommendations and steps for achieving the objectives outlined in the agreement.

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