VA Legislators and Youngkin cabinet nominees attend to honor Sen. Kiggans and Delegate Wilt
Richmond, VA – Conservatives for Clean Energy – Virginia (CCE-VA) held the 4th Clean Energy Champion Awards reception January 19, at the Omni Richmond. Virginia’s new Attorney General, Jason Miyares and Virginia House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore headlined the event which recognized outstanding leadership on clean energy in the Virginia General Assembly, industry and at the local level.
CCE-VA director Ron Butler recognized the 25 conservative legislators in attendance in addition to Youngkin cabinet nominees for Secretary of Commerce, Caren Merrick, Secretary of Natural Resources, Andrew Wheeler and Secretary of Labor, Bryan Slater.
Outlining the economic case for clean energy, Butler said some of the smartest business minds in the world like former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin were investing in clean energy because wind and solar are “extremely competitive” with other forms of electricity from a cost basis.
Senator Kiggans recognized for support of Coast Virginia Wind
Miyares presented Virginia Beach Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) with the CCE Senate Clean Energy Champion Award for her strong advocacy of Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind that will be the largest offshore wind project in the world. “To have to have a vibrant economy that lifts all boats you have to be able to meet the energy needs of the private sector and in our homes. I’m thrilled to be building the largest offshore wind project off the coast of Virginia that is going to be the equivalent of a nuclear power plant,” said Miyares.
Accepting the award, Kiggans said, “Wind it’s something that I think we should all get on board with. I’m excited about the economic impact of over $200 million in jobs for the Hampton Roads area alone.”
Delegate Wilt community solar Legislation in focus
Kilgore presented Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) with the CCE House Clean Energy Champion Award. “Southwest Virginia has been an energy innovator since I’ve been around through the coalfields, through gas, and now through a lot of solar projects. We’ve been innovating to make sure that we’re still part of Virginia’s energy future. We’re making sure that we’re continuing to lead by working in renewable energy research and innovation. Delegate Wilt supported my bill to make it easier to locate renewable projects on brownfield or surface mining sites. This year, he has two important pieces of legislation focusing on expanding access to the community solar projects,” said Kilgore
Pointing out the exponential growth of Virginia’s clean energy generation Delegate Wilt said, “Think about where we were with our portfolio 12 years ago, just when I came in, and where are we today? It is truly exciting. It has been driven by the free market, the citizens themselves have demanded it, and their employers and that’s the way you grow and it’s working. I’m excited for the possibilities.”
Butler stated, “Everyone from farmers who lease their land their land solar developers to dock workers in Portsmouth who deliver turbine blades for the offshore wind are benefiting from clean energy. And localities benefit from the revenue share and tax revenue from clean energy development as well.”
Pittsylvania’s business savvy recognized
Presenting the local government CCE Clean Energy Champion Award to Pittsylvania County Vogler said, “Living up to its “Business Savvy. People Friendly” motto, Pittsylvania has permitted 16 solar projects that are in various stages of development. Three projects are already operational, powering homes, schools, and businesses in the region while generating revenue for the county and landowners.”
Board of Supervisors Chairman Vic Ingram and county attorney Vaden Hunt were on hand to accept the award. Ingram said, “When I look at the evolution of my life and where our county has come to versus where it used to be, this is such a great thing for us. We have multiple solar projects that are in the works. And I think about all the farmers, my grandfather had 144 acres of tobacco, and had he lived, he would have lost that acreage, and he would have needed something to support that loss of income. And so when I drive across our county, just short of 1000 miles, and look at the solar projects that are being developed, I think about what it used to be, tobacco plants, and this is such a beautiful transition.”
Virginia’s Sun Tribe leads in innovation and growth
Virginia Land and Liberty Coalition director Skyler Zunk presented the industry CCE Clean Energy Award to Charlottesville based Sun Tribe “With nearly 80 employees, over 100 projects completed or under development, and an award-winning track record of innovation and implementation, Sun Tribe is one of the fastest growing clean energy companies in the Mid-Atlantic,” said Zunk. “Whether building the first solar array to sit on an abandoned coal mine in Virginia’s history, powering the first 100 percent solar school district east of the Mississippi, or powering Fortune 200 companies, Sun Tribe specializes in creating a brighter energy future through long-lasting, sustainable partnerships.”
Sun Tribe Development CEO Danny Van Clief said, “We’re hoping to take from where we are today, which is the very early innings of this industry, forward in Virginia in a way that allows Virginia to participate meaningfully in the economic benefits that we know these projects can unlock. On behalf of all the industry partners that are here tonight, we want to say thank you to the legislators for being here. The public private partnership is what makes our business plans work.”
The CCE Clean Energy Awards were sponsored by Amazon Web Services, The Coalition for Community Solar Access, Arcadia, Borrego, Clēnera, Commonwealth Energy Partners, Cypress Creek Renewables, Energix, First Solar, Geenex Solar, Hexagon Energy, Longroad Energy Open Road Renewables, Palladium Energy, Recurrent, SolUnesco, Sun Tribe and Urban Grid.