Virginia Offshore Wind legislation successful in General Assembly

The House and Senate have voted final unanimous passage of legislation that would promote the offshore wind industry in Virginia.

SB 577 sponsored by Senators McEachin and Wagner, and HB 389 sponsored by Delegate Janis, create the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority, an entity of the state that would help promote the development of the offshore wind industry in Virginia.  Areas the Authority would cover include the ability to create public/private partnerships for data collection and infrastructure upgrades, the ability to apply for federal loan guarantees, and take any actions at the state level to facilitate the growth of this industry.

“These bills were the cornerstone of our legislative agenda this year in the General Assembly,”  said Ann Flandermeyer, Executive Director for the Virginia Offshore Wind (VOW) Coalition, “Many stakeholders came together to create this important step for Virginia to compete with the other states already actively pursuing offshore wind.  Virginia has a chance to be a leader in this industry and the Authority is a part of making that a reality.”

Additionally, HB 1022 from Delegate Tim Hugo passed unanimously through both Houses.  This bill would increase the credit for offshore wind energy towards the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard goal.  Currently all wind and solar credits are worth double the amount of other renewables.  With the passage of this legislation, offshore wind will be worth three times the standard amount.

“We see this as a way for Virginia to say it’s serious about the offshore wind industry.  It really sends a message,” said Mary Doswell, Senior Vice President of Alternative Energy Solutions for Dominion, a VOW member.

The Virginia Offshore Wind (VOW) Coalition was formed in November 2009 and is comprised of localities, manufacturers, utilities, developers and supply chain members who all wish to promote the development of the offshore wind industry in Virginia.

VOW has really gained a lot of traction within the offshore wind industry and among the other stakeholders.  We started out with an aggressive legislative agenda and made some real progress this year in the General Assembly,” said Bob Matthias, Assistant to the City Manager of Virginia Beach.  The City of Virginia Beach was one of the original VOW members.

Source: vowcoalition, 10 March, 2010. Press release