Home Energy and Environment Obama Administration Announces Key Step Forward for Offshore Wind for Virginia

Obama Administration Announces Key Step Forward for Offshore Wind for Virginia

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Update by Miles: “Dominion Virginia Power is interested in building up to 400 wind turbines in Atlantic waters in what could be a powerful message for an emerging domestic source of clean energy,” reports the AP.

Good news, courtesy of Environment Virginia (see statement on the “flip”) and the Obama Administration. Of course, Bob McDonnell – and even, in fairness, several leading Democrats – continue to focus on dirty energy development, including risky oil drilling off our coast (need I remind these folks of the Gulf of Mexico disaster?). That’s misguided, given that the answer for Virginia, America, and our planet clearly is to move as fast as possible in the direction of energy efficiency, wind, solar, and other forms of clean, inexhaustible, 100% “made in the USA” energy. In other words, time to move forward into the 21st century, not stay tethered to filthy, increasingly outmoded 19th and 20th century energy sources (which, I’d add, continue to receive huge taxpayer-funded subsidies, which they have for over a century now – why?!?).

Obama Administration Announces Key Step Forward for Offshore Wind for Virginia

Richmond, VA-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a major step towards developing wind energy off the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia this morning. Joined by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy P. Beaudreau in Baltimore, Secretary Salazar announced that the environmental review of the proposed areas for wind development found no significant impacts, signaling a step closer to wind turbines spinning off our coasts.

Environment Virginia State Associate Caroline Kory issued the following statement in response:

“There is tremendous potential for producing clean, pollution-free wind energy off of Virginia’s coast. We are thrilled that the Obama administration has announced another critical step forward in making this vision a reality.

“Tapping into the power of offshore wind off of Virginia is vital to getting our state and the nation off fossil fuels without creating more pollution.  A report released by Environment America and the National Wildlife Federation shows that along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s conservative goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce global warming pollution by the equivalent of taking nearly 18 million cars off the road. A bold commitment to clean energy such as offshore wind would also significantly reduce harmful air pollution and reduce the risk of oil spills and other fossil fuel-related disasters.

“We applaud this step forward and the Obama administration for their leadership in ensuring that responsibly-sited offshore wind becomes a reality in Virginia as soon as possible.”

  • Statement of Glen Besa, Director, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter: Response to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Announcement On Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind

    We applaud BOEM’s initiative to fast-track the process to get us to this point today where Virginia’s offshore wind areas are now open for business.  We have a tremendous product to offer with those wind turbines spinning off Virginia’s coast; it’s a product that supports the creation of over 10,000 Virginia jobs and powers over 700,000 Virginia homes.  What we don’t have yet is a buyer of all that wonderful clean renewable energy.   Dominion Virginia Power must recognize that its ratepayers are already paying more for dirty energy in the form of added health care costs and premature deaths. Offshore wind power will lower the true cost of power for Virginians and bring us greater price stability and energy independence.  It’s time for Dominion to aggressively embrace the sustainable clean energy future that Virginia’s offshore wind development provides.

  • Governor McDonnell Announces Wind Energy Leases Advancing off Virginia Coast

    RICHMOND – Governor McDonnell announced today that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is moving forward with the next step in offshore wind energy development off the Virginia coast. The BOEM is publishing the call for information and nominations aimed at industry interest in locations off the Virginia coast for commercial wind energy leases. The call is the first step in the leasing process. It describes the areas that will be made available and solicits expression of interest from developers. Developers will have 15 days to respond to the call. Once responses are received, BOEM will determine whether their leasing process will be competitive or non-competitive.

    “Cost-effective development of Virginia’s offshore wind resources is one important component of our overall effort to make Virginia ‘The Energy Capital of the East Coast.’ America must continue to generate electricity from traditional sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas, while moving forward in pursuit of innovative alternative sources like wind, solar and biomass. We must also maintain reasonable energy costs and a reliable, consistent supply. Our partnership with BOEM, and this step forward toward offshore wind development builds on the strong foundation laid by the Virginia Task Force and our private partners like the VOW Coalition, Huntington Ingalls, Gamesa and others.”

    “We are working closely with the Commonwealth of Virginia to facilitate the commercial leasing process for renewable energy in federal waters off Virginia’s coast and are building on the steps that the Commonwealth has taken to encourage offshore wind development,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “This, along with the completion of BOEM’s environmental assessment of leasing in the mid-Atlantic area, are significant milestones in identifying and refining priority areas for potential offshore commercial wind energy development.”

    The location under consideration in today’s announcement – or call area – was identified by the intergovernmental Virginia Renewable Energy Task Force, which includes federal, state, local and tribal government representatives. The call area is intended to maximize the area available for commercial offshore wind development while balancing these efforts with military and commercial shipping interests and the protection of the environment.

    A map of the call area can be found at: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-

    The notice is available through the Federal Register at:  http://www.archives.gov/federa

  • I am thrilled to hear Virginia can move forward in developing wind energy infrastructure off our coast. Our nation’s economic, environmental, and national security goals will require a transition to cleaner, domestically produced energy. That is why I have long advocated for a true “all of the above” approach that responsibly utilizes all our resources, including wind and other alternative energy sources. I commend Governor McDonnell for his continuing support of this approach, and for his commitment to developing wind energy in Virginia.

    There is currently a worldwide race for the clean energy jobs of the 21st century, and I want those jobs here in America and in Virginia. If we commit to developing our workforce and infrastructure, we can secure our share of the $2.3 trillion global market for clean energy.

  • Press release from DPVA:

    McDonnell walks toward wind energy as Allen whines on the sidelines

    Richmond, VA – This afternoon the Obama administration announced that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is moving forward with the next step in offshore wind energy development off the Virginia coast. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell celebrated the progress and acknowledged that clean energy technologies like wind, solar and biomass must be a part of Virginia’s energy future.

    McDonnell’s support for wind energy stands in stark contrast with fellow Republican and former Senator George Allen, who is running for re-election on a campaign message that overtly excludes clean energy and the jobs that come with it.

    “Even Bob McDonnell understands that George Allen’s backward position on clean energy is no way to lead our economy into the future,” said DPVA Executive Director David Mills. “American energy independence will require an ‘all of the above’ approach that makes responsible use of every source of American energy, particularly clean and abundant sources like wind, solar and biomass.

    “Virginians deserve a Senator who will do the right thing for our energy future, not one whose position on clean energy and the jobs that come with it puts him on the extreme right fringe of his own party.”

    Background:

    Allen Promoted Coal, Oil, And Natural Gas Over Alternatives Because “The Sun Doesn’t Shine All The Time; The Wind Doesn’t Blow All The Time.”In June 2009, the Virginian-Pilot reported, “Former Gov. and U.S. Sen. George Allen launched the American Energy Freedom Center last week to promote coal, oil and natural gas as the best solutions to the world’s energy problems. He said solar and wind energy are less dependable because ‘The sun doesn’t shine all the time; the wind doesn’t blow all the time.'” [Virginian-Pilot, 6/13/09]

    Roanoke Times Editorial: “Allen Dismisses Wind And Solar.” A May 2011 Roanoke Times editorial criticized George Allen’s energy proposals. The Times opined: “Allen dismisses wind and solar as ‘costly and years away.’ The same could be said of drilling for gas and oil off Virginia’s shore — but without the environmental risk. So what’s Allen’s solution? Three things: drill, baby, drill from sea to shining sea; revel in being the ‘Saudi Arabia of coal’; tap for more natural gas, coal-bed methane and shale gas.” [Editorial, Roanoke Times, 5/8/11]

    2011: Allen Criticized Democrats For A “Full-Scale Assault On Conventional Fuels,” And For “Tilting At Intermittent, Expensive Windmills.” In a April 2011 op-ed in the Washington Examiner, George Allen criticized President Obama “and his liberal allies in Washington” for pushing clean-energy technology and launching a “full-scale assault on conventional fuels.” Allen wrote: “In answering a college student’s question about high gas prices last week at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama told Americans he believes the only real way to reduce our energy costs is to spend money on research and development of clean-energy technology. Sadly, the president and his liberal allies in Washington seem more concerned about tilting at intermittent, expensive windmills and throwing up bureaucratic roadblocks to using our American resources than the crippling impact of high energy costs. [W]ind and solar power technologies remain costly and years away – if ever – from widespread use, despite the tens of billions the U.S. Department of Energy has spent on renewable energy technologies since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was in the White House.”  [Allen op-ed, Washington Examiner, 4/26/11]

    Allen: “They Think You’re Going To Power Our Economy On Intermittent, Expensive And Unreliable Sources.” During an interview on the Gordon Liddy show, Allen said, “There are those on the other side who apparently do not [like] fossil fuels . . . They think you’re going to power our economy on intermittent, expensive and unreliable sources.” [Gordon Liddy Show, 1/26/12]

    Washington Post: “As Senator, [Allen] Voted For Tax Breaks To Oil . . .  And Against Fostering Alternative Sources” Of Energy. The Washington Post reported, “As senator, [Allen] voted for tax breaks to oil and coal companies and against fostering alternative sources, including solar and wind, because he said they were not dependable.” [Washington Post, 9/25/11]

  • I welcome the announcement from Secretary Salazar, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Obama Administration that the United States is moving forward on wind energy production off the Eastern shoreline, having cleared the environmental review process.  

    Virginia can and should be a national leader in wind power and today’s announcement brings us one step closer to that goal. The Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium found that there are approximately 3,200 megawatts of offshore wind farm capacity that could generate about 11 million megawatt-hours per year, enough to meet approximately 10 percent of Virginia ‘s annual electricity consumption.

    I hope members of both parties will join this effort to promote wind energy and thus reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

  • Progressive86

    Upon Allen’s ouster from the US Senate in 2006, he was the second highest paid congressman by the oil and gas industry (See http://www.opensecrets.org/pol

    Clean energy is the way forward and the way forward is Tim Kaine!