The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced this morning that Virginia will be one of three states included in the first-ever renewable energy lease sale on the outer continental shelf. Following that announcement Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement:
"Since the first days of our administration we have urged the Department of the Interior to move aggressively on development of the unique and promising wind energy resources off of Virginia's coast. Today's announcement is an exciting and important step forward. We congratulate and thank all of the individuals at BOEM, Virginia's Offshore Wind Development Authority, and the Virginia Task Force for working together so effectively to bring us to this point. There is energetic interest in the resource off of Virginia's coast. We look forward to a Virginia lease sale, and to building an industry in Virginia that will serve offshore wind development up and down the East coast and bring good paying jobs to our Commonwealth. "
Since taking office, Governor McDonnell has been a strong proponent of developing all of Virginia's domestic energy resources to make Virginia the "Energy Capitol of the East Coast." The Administration has taken numerous steps to position the Commonwealth as a national leader in offshore wind energy including:
Proposing successful legislation to create the new CEMIG program to focus existing resources for energy development incentives on targeted nuclear, wind, solar and biomass alternative energy projects. The legislation expanded Virginia's economic incentive programs for those companies willing to locate and innovate right here in the Commonwealth and will help make Virginia a hub for clean and renewable energy production.
Proposing successful legislation to create a Green Job Creation Tax Credit, an annual $500 tax credit for every green job created with a salary of $50,000 or more, for five years and up to 350 jobs.
Virginia joined and supported the work of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's off shore wind consortium to reform the permitting process and develop leasing and permitting timelines that would support financing and actual project development; led to the Secretary's "Smart from the Start" program.
Adopted a "first of its kind" in the nation Permit By Rule to streamline permitting of small (< 100 MW) land-based and offshore (state waters) renewable energy projects by addressing all issues of species and habitat, water quality and other state regulatory issues in a single permitting process agreed upon by all interested agencies and other stakeholders.
The Governor created the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority (VOWDA) which oversees the data gathering, research and planning that must be done to support offshore wind development off of Virginia's coast and track issues as they arise, and makes recommendations for promoting Virginia offshore wind development.
Conducted several studies to quantify Virginia's offshore resource, and the transmission resources needed and available to support development of that offshore resource.
Currently partnering with the BOEM to conduct a regional ocean geological survey, which will provide data about the ocean floor that will be made available to developers.
Submitted applications for two research leases - one in the wind area designated by the Dept of the Interior in federal waters, and one in state waters - to facilitate turbine testing and future gathering of metocean data.