Press Release | July 22, 2013

Conservation Groups Urge Full Development of Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Area

In a step forward for offshore wind energy development, today the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of Interior announced it will lease approximately 113,000 acres off the coast of Virginia for commercial wind energy development.

Conservation groups, who have pushed for development of this clean energy resource, strongly support the Department of Interior lease sale, which will be held on September 4. The wind energy area, around 23.5 nautical miles off of Virginia Beach, has the potential to produce more than 2,000 MW of clean power.

“We applaud the Department of Interior and its Virginia Stakeholder group for moving forward with the lease sale of the Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Area,” said David Carr, General Counsel at Southern Environmental Law Center. “We have urged the Department to structure the lease to ensure rapid assessment and development of this clean energy source, so that we can begin to replace our reliance on dirty coal-fired power plants.”

“We are glad to see Virginia was chosen by the Department of the Interior as the second offshore wind auction to ever take place for U.S. waters. Offshore wind off our coast will have a tremendous impact for climate change by reducing carbon pollution. In conjunction with the EPA’s moving forward to address carbon emissions from fossil-fuel based power plants, we are setting ourselves up for a better future,” said Chelsea Harnish, Policy and Campaign Manager, Virginia Conservation Network.

“Today, Virginia gets over 90 percent of its electricity from just three sources – nuclear, coal, and natural gas. Virginia urgently needs to diversify its energy supply. Properly-sited and responsibly-developed offshore wind energy can protect wildlife, cut climate-disrupting carbon pollution, and create thousands of jobs,” said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager for Climate and Energy at the National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast Regional Center.  “Local, state and federal officials need to keep working make the golden opportunity of offshore wind a reality.”

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