Pro-renewables business group prods gubernatorial candidates on Virginia energy regulations

A national association of businesses focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grids, energy storage and other technologies is pushing Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates to embrace what it calls “a transformational change” in how energy is consumed and generated in the state.

“Evolving consumer preferences, dynamic new technologies and aging infrastructure are causing the energy system as we have known it to modernize,” says a memo by Advanced Energy Economy, delivered Friday to the campaigns of GOP nominee Ed Gillespie and Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, the Democratic nominee. “And with this change comes opportunity.”

The policy paper by the group, which represents about 1,000 businesses in 27 states, outlines priorities aimed at creating jobs in Virginia in energy efficiency, solar and wind generation, and energy storage, among other emerging industries.

Gillespie’s campaign said the GOP nominee will be putting forward “a detailed, substantive plan to address energy priorities in the commonwealth to ensure our energy policies help foster economic growth.”

“As governor, he’ll help lead efforts to diversify Virginia’s energy portfolio for more affordable and reliable energy,” spokesman David Abrams said in a statement.

Northam said in a statement that revenue in the clean energy industry has grown from $500 million to $2 billion over the past three years.

“It’s clear to everyone that the future is in renewable energy,” Northam said. “In just the last year alone, our solar jobs have increased by 65 percent, making us one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.”

Read more (Richmond Times Dispatch)