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Governor Signs Bills Promoting Virginia's Energy Options

Gov. McDonnell speaks with Senator Wagner and Secretary Domenech

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell came to the Old Dominion University campus on Friday, April 2, to sign bills promoting energy production and conservation in the state, and to reflect on his campaign promise - unveiled at ODU a year ago - to make Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast.

He said the bills advance his goal of promoting energy independence and creating green jobs in Virginia, and will provide a boost for the work of the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, which is headquartered at ODU. Also at the signing ceremony were ODU faculty members Patrick Hatcher, the executive director of VCERC, and Larry Atkinson, who is a leader of VCERC's offshore wind energy initiative.

Hatcher's work focusing on the production of biodiesel fuel from algae, and the offshore wind energy studies by VCERC figure significantly in the governor's plan to strengthen alternative energy options. McDonnell said, too, that he intends to push for increased production and efficiencies related to energy from traditional sources such as coal, gas and nuclear reactors. "This is an exciting partnership between traditional energy and renewables," he said at a news conference.

The governor mentioned important events of the last few days for energy development in Virginia, a reference to President Barack Obama's announcement supporting exploration for gas and oil off the Virginia coast. He also voiced optimism about his efforts to cut federal red tape that currently stymies private investment in offshore wind farms in Virginia waters.

The pre-signing program included comments by Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech and State Senator Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach, a strong proponent of expanding Virginia's energy options.

The governor signed the following bills:

• HB 803 and SB 623, creating green jobs tax credits;

• HB 928, establishing the Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation;

• HB 389 and SB 577, creating the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority;

• HB 1022, encouraging the use of wind energy by Virginia utilities;

• HB 533 and SB 112, allowing for the acceleration of the replacement of aging gas utility infrastructure; and

• HB 806, adding improvement of infrastructure such as refueling stations as a goal of the Alternative Fuels Revolving Fund.

This article was posted on: April 2, 2010

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