On January 15, 2014, the US Chamber of Commerce unveiled a 64-point energy platform today called ‘Energy Works for US,’ designed to move changes in national energy policy to reflect major landscape changes over the past few years. The 64 ‘planks’ are strewn throughout nine policy areas and will cover energy sources from oil and coal to nuclear and renewables as well as issues like worker shortages, cybersecurity, permitting and infrastructure. The platform will serve as the Chamber’s energy plan for the coming years. You can access the platform here.
To bring this closer to home, VAEEC asked the Virginia Chamber of Commerce if they have developed a position with respect to the US Chamber’s energy platform, if they will be adopting the national plan, and what should we expect here in the Commonwealth?
The Virginia Chamber’s Keith Martin, Vice President of Public Policy & General Counsel, responded, “The Virginia Chamber just completed a strategic business plan called Blueprint Virginia. We met with over 7,000 businesses throughout the state to discuss issues of economic competitiveness. One of our focus areas was energy. Based on the recommendations we received from the business community, our goal is to create a balanced, sustainable energy policy that supports economic development and job growth while meeting the growing needs of our population and business community.”
“As you can see from our recommendations on energy, there is a lot of overlap between our blueprint and the U.S. Chamber’s energy platform. We intend to take our recommendations to Governor McAuliffe as he develops his energy plan for the Commonwealth.”
Blueprint Virginia’s Energy focus is on four areas:
Efficiency & Education
• Leverage private-sector investments for energy-efficiency improvements in state-owned buildings.
• Bring new energy-efficiency technologies to market through incentives.
• Strengthen consumer education and technical support for energy efficiency.
• Provide understandable, useable information to energy consumers directly at the consumer and retail level.
• Localize Virginia’s energy education efforts.
• Support investments in grid reliability and security to promote the most reliable possible service.
• Promote energy infrastructure planning to make the state’s energy supply resilient and secure.
• Encourage energy policy that accounts for the increased risk of energy disruption.
• Emphasize the importance of infrastructure investments to energy regulators and companies.
• Encourage continued fuel diversity through traditional and alternative energy investments in new sources of power generation, including but not limited to natural gas, coal, nuclear, biomass, solar, and wind.
• Identify highest potential opportunities for gas infrastructure investment to spur economic development.
• Better position Virginia’s offshore wind industry through investments in data technology, port capacity, and other opportunities to increase the supply chain potential of offshore wind.
Strategy Job Creation
• Shape public policies to take advantage of the dramatic increases in domestic energy supply.
• Support the full range of energy resources in Virginia to promote stable rates, economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection.
• Focus on energy investment opportunities that promote jobs, capital investment, and economic development.
• Build on Virginia’s affordable energy prices and reliable energy supply as a competitive advantage in recruiting business to the Commonwealth.
Blueprint Virginia’s Technology, Innovation & Startups focus is in six areas:
• Identify and encourage adequate funding and tax policy: Center for Innovative Technology GAP Funds; Angel Investment Tax Credit; capital gains tax exemption; Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund; R&D Tax Credit.
• Promote the creation of regional private investment funds.
• Support the creation of industry-specific accelerators.
• Create a stronger environment for entrepreneurship (outreach on available resources, teaching entrepreneurship in the schools, and statewide recognition).
• Enhance Virginia’s Business One-Stop portal.
• Continue to encourage experiential STEM opportunities for students, such as the CSIIP.
• Continue to explore policies to recruit and retain STEM teachers.
• Continue to emphasize STEM degree attainment.
• Continue to use the R&T Strategic Roadmap for investment in priority sectors.
• Strengthen the Commonwealth’s efforts to commercialize university intellectual property and support federal facilities IP transfer initiatives.
• Continue to invest in expanding broadband coverage and planning efforts.
• Promote cooperation and coordination through public-private partnerships to expand broadband services and lower deployment costs in areas where broadband expansion is not economically feasible.
For an Executive Summary of Blueprint Virginia, click here.
For the Energy Works for Us plan, click here.