Richmond, VA – Conservatives for Clean Energy held its annual Virginia legislative reception on Wednesday, January 18th in downtown Richmond. Members of the Youngkin Administration, the Office of the Attorney General and many conservative leaders in the House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia were in attendance. The Event was headlined by Clean Energy Champion award recipients, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick and Virginia’s Chief Deputy Attorney General Chuck Slemp. In addition, State Senator Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg) and House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore were in attendance to present the awards. The reception, which welcomed more than 150 attendees, was Co-Hosted by our friends at Energy Right and the Virginia Land and Liberty Coalition.
Conservatives for Clean Energy CEO Mark Fleming opened the event and thanked guests and sponsors for their support for Conservatives for Clean Energy. Fleming noted how this annual event has continued to grow each year – this was the 7th event since the first in January of 2017. Mark formally introduced the new State Director Thomas Turner to the audience.
Speaking on behalf of CCE Virginia, Turner said that under Governor Youngkin’s leadership “We believe that Virginia can be a leader in wind, solar, nuclear, hydrogen, biomass, and more – all of the above.” He said, “Energy independence is not just a matter of economic freedom but national security.”
Senator Steve Newman was present to present the Clean Energy Champion award to Secretary Caren Merrick. In 2022, on behalf of Governor Youngkin, she led the effort to craft a new Virginia Energy Plan. The result was a new energy plan focused on delivering affordable, reliable energy that is increasingly clean by leaning in on innovation and market competition. Conservatives for Clean Energy were proud to play a small role in crafting the plan, and we were pleased to honor Secretary Merrick with this year’s award.
House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore also participated in this year’s event, as he has for many years, to recognize Attorney General Jason Miyares for his efforts to craft a consumer protection agreement related to the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. Chief Deputy Attorney General Chuck Slemp accepted the award on behalf of Miyares, who could not attend the event. His work in 2022 ensured that the CVOW project will move forward delivering clean energy to Virginia and significant economic benefits to the state, while ensuring that ratepayers are protected from potential cost overruns associated with the project.
In addition to recognizing our state officials, our friends at Energy Right recognized local government and industry partners who are leading the way in Virginia’s clean energy transition. Skyler Zunk presented our local government clean energy champion award to Charlotte County. Blake Cox presented an industry partner clean energy champion award to SolUnesco for their work for many years in support of the clean energy champion. These two honorees recently moved forward on a large solar project in Charlotte County which will deliver clean energy to the Commonwealth, state and local tax revenue, and most importantly local jobs and economic benefits.
It was a great kick off to the 2023 year and we look forward to continuing our work in support of an all the above energy strategy for Virginia, including during the current session of the Virginia General Assembly.