Today, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced competitive lease sales for renewable energy development in two wind energy areas (WEAs) to include federal waters off Virginia’s coast.
Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa offers the following statement in response:
[Richmond, Virginia] – The federal government has taken this important step towards allowing offshore wind to be a reality for Virginia. Now we need our Virginia leaders who decide what sources are powering our homes to follow their lead and pave the way for offshore wind to be part of our energy future.
Developing the Virginia lease sale area’s full 2000 megawatts of power is a real game changer. Not only does it power over 500,000 homes but developed in its entirety, that 2000 megawatts is also a large enough amount of energy potential to attract industry investment in Virginia which in turn creates thousands of jobs.
Dominion is one of eight companies proposing to develop Virginia’s offshore wind lease area. Whether they win the auction or not, they remain essential to the process. With its monopoly in Virginia, Dominion will be the only utility capable of delivering that wind energy to our homes. Dominion is potentially buying up these leases, but with no immediate plan to develop them. We need to know that whoever owns the right to develop offshore wind actually intends to do so. Delaying will only hurt our economy, limit clean energy job growth and threaten our communities with more coastal flooding and sea level rise.
Superstorm Sandy was a particularly tragic example of the extreme weather that climate change is already inflicting on the planet. Unless we continue reducing carbon emissions from coal, oil and gas storms like Sandy could become the new normal. We need Dominion to take responsibility for cutting pollution by immediately advancing work to bring offshore wind online in Virginia to replace outdated dirty energy sources.