Beth Kemler, Virginia State Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, had the following response to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's announcement that Dominion Resources has won today's auction for the rights to develop Virginia's 112,800-acre offshore wind energy area:
"We're excited to see that offshore wind power is inching closer and closer to being a reality off Virginia's coast. We're anxious to see this massive resource start powering Virginia homes and businesses with clean energy.
"While Dominion came out on top today, that unfortunately doesn't guarantee that the company will actually erect a single turbine. The company could rent the wind energy area for years without moving forward with any development, preventing a more eager company from doing so. In fact, Dominion Virginia Power's recently released long-range energy plan prioritizes new fossil fuel projects over offshore wind power development, rejecting offshore wind power even as a back-up plan. This doesn't leave us with high hopes for Dominion's speedy development of this clean energy resource.
"The longer Dominion waits to put steel in the water, the longer Virginians wait for much-needed jobs. The longer Dominion waits to put steel in the water, the more likely it is that another state will become the offshore wind manufacturing hub of the East Coast. The longer Dominion waits to put steel in the water, the more fossil fuels it burns for power and the more planet-heating pollution it releases.
"Virginians are already being hit by the impacts of climate change. We're seeing more and more flash flooding, sea levels rising toward coastal homes and ever-increasing threats of being hit by category 4 and 5 hurricanes. As we continue to burn more and more fossil fuels, releasing more and more planet-heating pollution, the impacts will continue to get worse. According to the International Energy Agency, to avoid temperature increases to a catastrophic level, we have to keep at least two-thirds of the world's known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Tapping our massive offshore wind energy resource is key to making that happen."
Beth Kemler, 804-335-0915, [email protected]
Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022, [email protected]