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‘It’s All About Energy,’ Governor Tells Symposium

By Margo Maier, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe launched the 2015 Energy & Sustainability Conference on Tuesday with a briefing on Virginia’s energy plan.

“My goal is to fund Virginia with clean, abundant and affordable Virginia energy,” McAuliffe told the conference, which the Virginia Chamber of Commerce held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

McAuliffe said members of the General Assembly worked together this year to advance a number of energy-related projects in the commonwealth. “You want to talk about jobs, economic development – it’s all about energy.”

Last fall, McAuliffe unveiled his energy plan, which takes an “all of the above” approach to both fossil fuels and renewable energy resources.

“The first thing I stated when I announced my plan last October was that we need to grow, strengthen and diversify our economy,” he told Tuesday’s gathering. “That is crucial to my strategic vision.”

That means diversifying energy sources as well.

McAuliffe noted that Virginia is the first state to receive a federal wind energy research lease in federal waters.

State officials are planning a wind farm 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The turbines and towers used in the project will be built in-state, providing economic opportunities for Virginians, the governor said.

Moreover, the General Assembly recently created the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority, the governor said. Its purpose is to deploy solar energy initiatives throughout the state, boosting not only the environment but also the economy.

McAuliffe also recounted that last October, he signed an executive order titled “Conserving Energy and Reducing Consumption in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Under that order, he said, officials will do “everything we can to reduce energy consumption” and “promote energy efficiency in state government.”

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