‘We have virtually every God-given resource available to us’

There were no surprises as Gov. Bob McDonnell took to the podium Wednesday to advocate for an “all of the above” approach to addressing the state’s energy needs.

Speaking before hundreds of people in the energy industry and a cadre of public officials, McDonnell reiterated his promise to make Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast. The governor’s speech was part of a three-day conference on energy that he organized.

“I want to make sure Virginia is at the forefront,” McDonnell said. “We have virtually every God-given resource available to us.”

Natural gas, coal, nuclear and offshore alternative energy sources topped McDonnell’s list of energy sources with the most local potential, and he stressed Virginia’s need to increase domestic production of energy, citing a recent report that named the state second only to California when it comes to the country’s biggest importer of electricity.

“We already purchase more than 30 percent of Virginia’s use of the grid,” McDonnell said. “In the long term, that means higher prices for our citizens.” McDonnell said that to meet the state’s energy needs, there must be a minimum of 7,000 megawatts of new generation over the next 10 years.

McDonnell ran through a list of energy sources and spoke about the roles he expects each to play to meet those needs.

When it comes to nuclear, McDonnell named Lynchburg as a hub for future activity with the presence of major nuclear engineering firms in the area. He also praised Dominion for a new reactor planned for Lake Anna.

McDonnell named offshore wind as one of the state’s most vital natural resources and anticipated that its development will create thousands of jobs and attract billion of dollars in capital investment. He pointed to a recent deal between Northrop Grumman and a Spanish turbine maker to develop technology in Hampton Roads as an “exciting first step in bringing the wind energy supply chain to Virginia.” The governor also referenced an announcement made by Google yesterday that the company was investing in a $5 billion project to develop offshore wind along the East Coast.

McDonnell mentioned biomass as another potential energy source, including the use of “chicken litter” harvested from the state’s chicken farms. He also named Osage and Piedmont Bio Products as major players in that field.

McDonnell reaffirmed his support for the state’s natural gas industry.

“Natural gas is a critically important part of Virginia’s energy future,” McDonnell said.

Natural gas, he said, could be a viable alternative for gasoline-powered automobiles.

He also defended the state’s coal industry and said that new technologies are being developed that promise to eliminate environmental arguments against it, chiefly referring to the benefits of carbon capture and sequestration.

“If these experiments prove successful, the future of coal in Virginia is very bright,” McDonnell said.

The governor had little to say about developing the state’s solar industry, noting that his administration is still trying to evaluate whether it makes sense for Virginia, his biggest concern being costs.

McDonnell saved perhaps his most targeted source for energy production for last: offshore oil and gas.

“I still believe Virginia will be an offshore energy leader,” said McDonnell, hopeful that the current drilling moratorium will be lifted. The Obama administration had previously moved to allow lease sales off the Virginia coast, but those plans were quickly derailed by the BP disaster over the summer.

McDonnell said that studies show there are trillions of cubic feet of gas and hundreds of millions of barrels of oil waiting to be tapped and said that he would not stop his efforts to see offshore drilling move forward.

Al Harris is a BizSense reporter. Please send news tips to [email protected]

There were no surprises as Gov. Bob McDonnell took to the podium Wednesday to advocate for an “all of the above” approach to addressing the state’s energy needs.

Speaking before hundreds of people in the energy industry and a cadre of public officials, McDonnell reiterated his promise to make Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast. The governor’s speech was part of a three-day conference on energy that he organized.

“I want to make sure Virginia is at the forefront,” McDonnell said. “We have virtually every God-given resource available to us.”

Natural gas, coal, nuclear and offshore alternative energy sources topped McDonnell’s list of energy sources with the most local potential, and he stressed Virginia’s need to increase domestic production of energy, citing a recent report that named the state second only to California when it comes to the country’s biggest importer of electricity.

“We already purchase more than 30 percent of Virginia’s use of the grid,” McDonnell said. “In the long term, that means higher prices for our citizens.” McDonnell said that to meet the state’s energy needs, there must be a minimum of 7,000 megawatts of new generation over the next 10 years.

McDonnell ran through a list of energy sources and spoke about the roles he expects each to play to meet those needs.

When it comes to nuclear, McDonnell named Lynchburg as a hub for future activity with the presence of major nuclear engineering firms in the area. He also praised Dominion for a new reactor planned for Lake Anna.

McDonnell named offshore wind as one of the state’s most vital natural resources and anticipated that its development will create thousands of jobs and attract billion of dollars in capital investment. He pointed to a recent deal between Northrop Grumman and a Spanish turbine maker to develop technology in Hampton Roads as an “exciting first step in bringing the wind energy supply chain to Virginia.” The governor also referenced an announcement made by Google yesterday that the company was investing in a $5 billion project to develop offshore wind along the East Coast.

McDonnell mentioned biomass as another potential energy source, including the use of “chicken litter” harvested from the state’s chicken farms. He also named Osage and Piedmont Bio Products as major players in that field.

McDonnell reaffirmed his support for the state’s natural gas industry.

“Natural gas is a critically important part of Virginia’s energy future,” McDonnell said.

Natural gas, he said, could be a viable alternative for gasoline-powered automobiles.

He also defended the state’s coal industry and said that new technologies are being developed that promise to eliminate environmental arguments against it, chiefly referring to the benefits of carbon capture and sequestration.

“If these experiments prove successful, the future of coal in Virginia is very bright,” McDonnell said.

The governor had little to say about developing the state’s solar industry, noting that his administration is still trying to evaluate whether it makes sense for Virginia, his biggest concern being costs.

McDonnell saved perhaps his most targeted source for energy production for last: offshore oil and gas.

“I still believe Virginia will be an offshore energy leader,” said McDonnell, hopeful that the current drilling moratorium will be lifted. The Obama administration had previously moved to allow lease sales off the Virginia coast, but those plans were quickly derailed by the BP disaster over the summer.

McDonnell said that studies show there are trillions of cubic feet of gas and hundreds of millions of barrels of oil waiting to be tapped and said that he would not stop his efforts to see offshore drilling move forward.

Al Harris is a BizSense reporter. Please send news tips to [email protected]

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anonymous
anonymous
11 years ago

I do think natural gas maybe be a ‘gap fuel’ while transitioning from oil and coal to more renewables, But fracking has problems. Drilling in downtown Pittsburgh next to the rivers? Its very controversial and very dangerous.

What’s sad about this Governor’s conference is that it is becoming increasingly clear how local interests are clinging to the fossil fuels, while smarter, outside money is bringing in the clean energy revolution. Virginia’s energy policy is losing to coal lobbyists.

Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson
11 years ago

@anonymous, the smart money always goes where the highest economic incentives are located and right now that does not include “green” energy, maybe (hopefully) in the future but certainly not now.

anonymous
anonymous
11 years ago
RSweeney
RSweeney
11 years ago

Let’s use REAL numbers.

Dominion produces power from coal and nuclear for less than 2 cent/kw-hr

Massachusetts off-shore wind turbines will produce at 45 cents/kw-hr.
Solar trades in the PJM interconnect for 55 cents/kw-hr.

Alternatives are simply not viable players yet.

Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson
11 years ago

LG is a ~$20 billion company, it says they’re spending $820m on solar over the next five years. Interest expense makes up a bigger portion of their income statement than solar energy. So yes, its true that these companies are committing R&D money to solar but they are all very far from making any kind of real effort. Additionally when you consider the subsidies and tax implications of solar research most of those companies are committing an even smaller portion of their funds to “green” energy. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how many hours are… Read more »

anonymous
anonymous
11 years ago

Anderson, RSweeney in response to your ‘REAL’ numbers – read this:

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/09/the-grid-parity-fallacy

The Governor ‘s Conference is incredibly short-sighted.

The more we reply on ‘cheap’ fossil fuel energy, the more we poison our land and water, and the more we lose competitiveness to countries that are making a commitment.

Time is Running Out for U.S. Leadership in Clean-Tech Jobs

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/10/time-is-running-out-for-u-s-leadership-in-clean-tech-jobs

RSweeney
RSweeney
11 years ago

Anderson,

You have a choice for your business.
Nuclear power at 2 cents wholesale or solar at 55 cents.

Which makes you more competitive?

Jake
Jake
11 years ago

Once again one of the easiest and best measures we can take, increasing efficiency and cutting back usage and waste, is not even mentioned. I suppose because actually using less energy is not in the interest of those selling it to us.

Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson
11 years ago

The only thing that article said was that there are negative externalities that need to be included in the price of traditional power sources. That’s true, but those are accounted for by human choice, not changing price points. This is why utilities are choosing to build natural gas infrastructure instead of solar and wind. Negative externalities included, fossil fuel energy is still cheaper than alternative sources. The market will dictate when we switch to solar and wind, not activists. Furthermore his argument that Grid Parity itself is a fallacy doesn’t even agree with his own article which goes on to… Read more »

anonymous
anonymous
11 years ago

RSweeney, time to drink some tea, some Honest Tea.

Proving the Free Market has Room for Responsibility

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/10/proving-the-free-market-has-room-for-responsibility.php

RSweeney
RSweeney
11 years ago

To Anon and the greenies here.

I have no problem with people who want to pay more and get less – like “green” electricity.
If it makes you feel morally superior, and you have the excess cash – go for it! Buy all the solar panels you want – at their REAL price, without subsidies.

Do what you want, I just don’t want YOU to force YOUR choice on everyone else and to make them pay for it as the greens are doing now.

Anon
Anon
11 years ago

Try buying all the oil and coal at their REAL price, without subsidies.

Big Oil alone benefits from $17.9 billion in state and federal tax credits and other financial incentives.

Might as well include the blood of many, many people who have died for American Middle Eastern policy while you are at it.

Do what you want, I just don’t want YOU to force YOUR choice on everyone else and to make them pay for it as the Republicrats are doing now.

Ray Lepper
Ray Lepper
11 years ago

Near as I can tell, one half of the issue did not get sufficient attention. I’d like to see a lot more attention focused on reducing consumption through efficiency and (yes, even) behavior changes. Nobody would forever walk by a leaking hose in their driveway but we passively let energy ‘leak’ out of our homes and businesses every day.