( – promoted by lowkell)
Again within the course of just 2 days, Governor Bob McDonnell marched the Commonwealth of Virginia even further down the path of yesteryear. Fresh off his “Drill, baby, drill” celebrations, yesterday comes the announcement that he has quit the Governors Wind Energy Coalition.
This is getting downright embarrassing for us Virginians! While several other states on the eastern seaboard are fast moving towards offshore wind energy development, we’re instead plotting to drill for oil that once online (10-20 years from now) lasts a grand total of 6.5 days!
McDonnell is not only the cause of embarrassment for us Virginians, but also for all Americans. His reason for quitting the wind coalition is its support for a national renewable electricity mandate. China is killing us in the race to collect big manufacturers with their thousands of jobs to their country. These manufacturers are otherwise turned off by America’s unsteady support for the industry. Problem’s solved with passage of a national policy supporting renewables.
A Chicago consulting firm, Navigant, produced a report with the following summary of findings:
•A 25% by 2025 national RES would result in 274,000 more jobs supported by the renewable electricity industry than without a national RES. This is equivalent to 2.36 million additional job-years.
•A national RES will lead to job growth in all states, especially those currently without state-level renewable electricity standards.
•The biomass, hydropower, and waste-to-energy industries would see significant job gains in the Southeast United States under a strong national policy. Biomass jobs would double, with most of the increase concentrated in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.
•Meaningful near-term RES targets (12% by 2014 and 20% by 2020) are critical to ensure global competitiveness for the US renewable electricity industry, and stronger long-term targets (25% by 2025) are needed to attract long-term manufacturing investment and project development.
•Meaningful near-term targets are also necessary to mitigate a flattening or decline in industry-supported jobs that will otherwise occur across industries with the expiration of tax incentives and stimulus-related policies.
A national RES makes the U.S. more competitive worldwide and should we start to win this competition, guess which state stands to benefit the most?
“No other state has more opportunity for economic gain and to be a leader in the offshore wind industry than Virginia”, writes the Virginia Offshore Wind Coalition, a coalition that I think Gov. McDonnell still supports and hasn’t bailed from.
Several factors make Virginia uniquely position amongst its East Coast neighbors to capture the greatest $ benefit from a national RES:
– Virginia has one of the best sites in the world for offshore wind. A shallow outer continental shelf extending many miles out, combined with ample Class 5 (excellent) and 6 (outstanding) wind resources, means we could potentially meet 100% of our total energy demand from offshore wind turbines.
– A wind farm twelve miles offshore from Virginia Beach could be readily integrated into the region’s high-voltage transmission grid by connecting to an existing 500 KV substation in Chesapeake.
– Amongst its East Coast neighbors, Virginia and specifically Hampton Roads with its deep water port and ship building industry, is envisioned as being the manufacturing hub for the industry.
– U.S. offshore projects are moving ahead in five other Atlantic states (where incidentally there is no proposed offshore oil drilling): Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York. Lined up along the Atlantic coast, Virginia’s wind farms are a necessary “stop along the way” as East Coast states work cooperatively to establish an integrated offshore electric grid.
Bottomline: Not only could Virginia easily meet and beat a national RES, but it stands to benefit handsomely from it. And Gov. McDonnell abandons it all, marching us in pursuit of dirty 20th century energy. It’s embarrassing now and will be especially embarrassing for our children.