Late last week, the U.S. Department of Interior announced plans to sell leases for the development of wind energy 27 miles off of Virginia’s shores and another lease block off of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If constructed, these would be the first offshore wind generation facilities in the United States.
While Virginia is far from a frontrunner in the wind energy industry, or renewables in general, we have an undeniably perfect location for offshore wind. We have a unique combination of strong steady winds and shallow waters far beyond the visual horizon. Along with these physical attributes, the historically coal-focused political climate is also beginning to warm to the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy.
In fact, both likely gubernatorial candidates – Ken Cuccinelli on the Republican side and Terry McAuliffe for the Democrats — have expressed an interest in making changes to the law that has failed to spur development of the renewable energy industry in Virginia over the past five years.