Virginia Enacts Sweeping Green Energy Laws
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell sign into law on April 2 an array of green energy bills passed by the state's General Assembly this session. Among the measures was legislation to provide a $500 tax credit for each green job created in the Commonwealth; a bill establishing the Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation; the creation of the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority; and legislation rewarding investor owned electric utilities for using wind energy. The signing took place two days after the state was given federal approval to be the first state on the East Coast to explore offshore oil and gas resources. Under the new law, 20 percent of any revenues generated by the offshore energy development will be used to fund green energy research at a state university consortium.
According to the governor, Virginia is the second largest energy importing state in the country, behind only California. The new clean energy initiatives are designed to boost the alternative energy industry in the state. Included in the bills were provisions to:
- Offer a $500 tax credit for the creation of as many as 350 green jobs after January 2010
- Create the Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation to conduct clean energy research
- Form the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority to develop the state's offshore wind industry and wind powered electric energy facilities
- Make improvement to infrastructure such as refueling stations as a goal of the Alternative Fuels Revolving Fund
- Give localities the authority to use property liens to secure loans for the initial acquisition and installation of clean energy improvements.
For more information, read the governor's press release.