- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe released his energy blueprint for Virginia on Wednesday, stressing a familiar “all of the above” strategy that promotes greater use of renewable generation such as solar and wind, efficiency and traditional sources of energy.

The thick document, which goes to the General Assembly, was filed with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. McAuliffe will formally debut the four-year Virginia Energy Plan at an Oct. 14 event on the state’s energy future.

Like his predecessor, Republican Bob McDonnell, McAuliffe stressed diversity in his energy plan.

In a letter introducing the plan, McAuliffe casts energy development as an economic driver that will create tens of thousands of jobs, generate hundreds of millions of dollars and bring new industry to the state.

“There is tremendous untapped potential in many areas of the energy sector, including wind and solar generation, biofuels, offshore energy development and nuclear technology,” McAuliffe writes in the introduction.

He also stresses the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering energy consumption. “The cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy that is not consumed,” McAuliffe writes.

The Sierra Club commended the McAuliffe plan for promoting renewables “to jump start our lagging clean energy business sector.”

On the other hand, the club’s Virginia director, Glen Besa, said in a statement that McAuliffe’s support “for offshore drilling, and expanding gas pipelines and coal technology exports seriously undercuts his intentions to address climate change.”

McAuliffe has promoted the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would deliver natural gas to the state from rich natural gas drilling in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Loaded with graphs, pie charts and maps, the energy plan shows that Virginia continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum, with only a sliver of generation from renewable sources such as hydroelectric and solar.

“Increasing renewable generation in Virginia is vital to ensuring a healthy and diverse fuel mix,” the report states. It suggests that those numbers can be increased by creating favorable regulatory and business environment that “allows renewable energy to develop and prosper.”

On energy efficiency, McAuliffe said he will create a board to develop a voluntary goal of a 10 percent reduction in retail energy consumption across the state. He’ll also appoint a chief energy efficiency officer to help the state lead on that initiative.

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Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sszkotakap.

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Online:

Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy: https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/2014_VirginiaEnergyPlan2.shtml


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