Major New Wind Initiative Announced in Norfolk


    Great news from Norfolk, Virginia earlier today.

    Unveiling a coordinated strategic plan to accelerate the development of offshore wind energy, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced major steps forward in support of offshore wind energy in the United States, including new funding opportunities for up to $50.5 million for projects that support offshore wind energy deployment and several high priority Wind Energy Areas in the mid-Atlantic that will spur rapid, responsible development of this abundant renewable resource.  

    Deployment of clean, renewable offshore wind energy will help meet the President’s goal of generating 80 percent of the Nation’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.

    For his part, Gov. Bob McDonnell said thatVirginia is uniquely positioned to lead the nation in the development of a reliable domestic offshore wind energy industry that produces affordable energy for our homes and businesses,” as the “waters off of Virginia are well-suited for offshore wind energy production.” Of course, this is Bob McDonnell we’re talking about, so of course we got the obligatory ode to “nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas.” Still, I’m glad to see McDonnell being so positive about offshore wind development in Virginia. Perhaps McDonnell even agrees with the National Wildlife Federation, which says, “Offshore wind holds great potential to create jobs, cut pollution, and reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels. It is time for America to move forward boldly and responsibly with clean energy…” Or is that too much to hope for?

    P.S. I wonder if Bob McDonnell agrees with George Allen that wind energy is “medieval technology” and that a policy of encouraging it constitutes “tilting at windmills.”

    • From the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:

      On the heels of Secretary Salazar’s offshore wind energy announcement today in Norfolk, both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed the Voluntary Solar Resource Fund Bill (HB 2191 and SB 975), which aims to set up a revolving loan fund for residential solar energy projects. The loan program will promote economic development and the production of clean, renewable energy at no cost to the state.

      Environmentalists touted the bill as a win-win-win for all major parties involved: the citizens of Virginia who will receive the loans, the commonwealth’s solar energy industry, and utilities with an interest in distributed solar power.

      “Renewable energy has had two major boosts today: first the announcement that Virginia could begin leasing offshore wind sites by the end of this year, and also from the passing of the Voluntary Solar Resource Fund bill in the Virginia General Assembly,” said Chelsea Harnish, Virginia Policy Coordinator for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “This program presents an exciting opportunity for Virginians who want to reduce their carbon footprint by powering their homes with renewable energy, but might not be able to afford the up-front costs associated with installing solar panels.”

      Virginia possesses some of the mid-Atlantic region’s best solar energy potential as well as exceptionally strong consumer demand. The 2009 federal stimulus package included rebates to Virginia homeowners for renewable energy projects. Demand was so high that this fund was exhausted within a matter of just days and 500 households remained on the rebate list. To date, the Virginia state legislature has done very little to encourage the development of solar energy. Consequently, the commonwealth is being easily outpaced by its neighbors: Maryland has a smaller population and less sunlight, but boasts 13 times as many solar-powered homes as Virginia.

      Kent Baake, President of solar energy company Continuum Energy Solutions, said: “All the necessary pieces are there for Virginia’s solar energy industry to become a leader in the United States. I’m thrilled that thanks to this important legislation, now even more Virginians will be able to consider solar power systems for their homes.”

      The fund is expected to begin accepting donations in July 2011 and begin accepting loan applications in July 2012. To learn more about applying for a residential solar energy loan, consumers should contact the Virginia Department of Minerals, Mines and Energy.

    • Tiburon

      This toxic lake poisons Chinese farmers, their children and their land.

      Perhaps Virginia should also produce Neodymium ???