Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Virginia Joins Coalition for Atlantic Wind Farms
By Julian Walker
© June 9, 2010
With new offshore drilling on hold as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is backing another federal effort to promote energy production.
McDonnell and governors in nine other states have joined an effort organized by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to promote, coordinate and expedite the development of offshore wind facilities along the Outer Continental Shelf in the Atlantic Ocean.
Other members of the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium are Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina.
Virginia will be home to a regional renewable energy office, though officials said a site hasn't been identified.
"Appropriate development of... wind power will enhance regional and national security and create American jobs," Salazar said Tuesday in a statement about the partnership.
As much as one-fifth of the nation's electricity could come from wind in the next 20 years if it is effectively harnessed, he said.
Salazar presented the consortium idea to McDonnell and other officials during a February meeting in the nation's capital.
All Atlantic Coast states were invited to join the group, whose members are to produce an initial report with goals and recommendations within the next month.
McDonnell, a strong supporter of offshore drilling, said in a statement that he has "long advocated an 'all of the above' approach to our energy needs." He called the consortium "a major step forward" for Virginia.
The announcement comes more than a month after Salazar approved a permit for offshore wind facilities near Cape Cod, Mass., a potentially groundbreaking project that the secretary has said could be the first of many similar ventures.
News of the consortium was welcomed by environmental advocate Eileen Levandoski, Hampton Roads coordinator for the Sierra Club, who hopes it will allow for quicker approvals of offshore wind projects that are "commercially viable right now."
Julian Walker, (804) 697-1564, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by JPG at 5:07 AM