The US and Commonwealth of VA have built their economies around cheap energy. This is critical to be competitive in a world marketplace and to compete with other states for industry. The Commonwealth also must compete with other countries for industry, most of which use cheaper fossil fuels rather than renewable sources of energy, giving them a competitive advantage. Cheap energy is needed to compete and is the catalyst for future growth as we jointly compete for industry and jobs in the 21st century transnational economy.
We, as a country, have an abundance of fossil fuel resources. Virginia is also blessed to have an abundance of fossil fuel resources located in the southwestern portion of the State. Nationally, coal can supply up to 200 years of consistent supply, and with the recent discoveries of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas in the northeast, the country has an excess of fossil fuel resources for many decades to come.
Renewables continue to be highly subsidized by local, state and federal governments. In some localized areas, they are the better option and can compete without subsidies. In most areas however, they are not competitive due to costs, lack of suitable power storage and inconsistent supply. After a review of VA’s wind, geothermal, hydro and solar potential, the Commonwealth is not geographically situated in an area that’s good for either of these resources (except for some offshore wind potential).
Renewable energy sources are great in some situations, but they alone are simply not enough to meet the current energy demand. Fossil fuels should be an integral part of Virginia’s Energy Plan due to their competitive cost structures, abundance of supply and reliability. Our Energy Plan should take an “all of the above” approach to meet current and future demands of the Commonwealth.