There are millions of cutting-edge energy jobs waiting to be created, and we need them here in Virginia.
According to the Brookings Institute, the United States has created 2,675,545 clean energy jobs. Unfortunately, Virginia only has 2.5% of those jobs, or 66,772. This is unacceptable, and I know we can do better. Our neighbors to the south and west are already getting ahead and we need to catch up and then take the lead.
There is a lot we can do. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that here in Virginia we’ve got over 1,000 megawatts of wind power we could be capturing onshore. Building this capacity would result in $2.7 million in new payments to landowners, $9.1 million in new property tax revenues, over 1,500 new construction jobs and over 200 new long-term jobs.
Even better, offshore, the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium estimates that in just the 25 most promising offshore parcels open for development of wind power, Virginia could generate around 3,200 megawatts, or 10% of Virginia’s total energy use in a manner that’s cost competitive. This offshore wind project could create between 9,700 and 11,600 jobs right here in Virginia.
We also know we can create thousands more jobs by encouraging energy efficiency and supporting people in making their homes and businesses more efficient. These kinds of renovations employ construction workers and keep building supplies moving through the economy, while saving homeowners and businesses money every month on their utility bills.