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VA Poised for Major Wind Energy Production; Will Congress Play Ball?

Offshore Wind Turbines
Offshore Wind Turbines
December 4, 2012

RESTON, Va. - With the announcement last week by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that Virginia will be one of three states included in the first-ever offshore renewable energy lease sale, the Commonwealth is well poised to become a wind energy hub. However, some worry that Congress will let the wind tax credits expire before year's end.

Joe Mendelson, director of the National Wildlife Federation Climate and Energy Program, says his group and many others have signed and delivered an open letter to Congress today.

"We have sportsmen and conservationists from across the country - more than 115. Specifically, they would like to see the wind tax credits that are up for renewal passed - and passed soon."

In terms of the new proposed offshore lease in Virginia, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that about 23 nautical miles will support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation and produce enough electricity to power 7,000 homes. This could be a win-win for the region, Mendelson says.

"Jobs can be created both throughout the state and off the coast of Virginia if we put wind facilities offshore. We know the alternatives are polluting coal and things that wreck our environment. We want to see these wind tax credits extended, for the good of the economy in Virginia and for the quality of the environment."

More than 75,000 jobs are in place right now, Mendelson says, and about half of those would disappear if the tax credits are not extended by the end of this month. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are also part of the offshore wind-energy lease deal, which will cover 278,000 acres.


Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA