Businesses press gubernatorial candidates on energy policy - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Efficiency, Regulation  -  June 27, 2017

Business group pushes Virginia politicians on energy

A national association of businesses committed to advancing clean energy efforts nationwide announced June 23 that it sent a memo to the two candidates in Virginia’s gubernatorial race outlining actions that the future governor could take to advance the commonwealth’s energy programs.

The group, Advanced Energy Economy, sent the policy memo June 22 to the campaigns of both Republican nominee Ed Gillespie and Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, according to a news release.

AEE’s members comprise a collection of utilities, energy companies and commercial and industrial companies focused on influencing public policy with an emphasis on growing advanced energy businesses in the U.S. The group includes more than 1,000 companies across 27 states, including Apple Inc., General Electric Co., Amazon.com and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Advanced energy is already a major economic driver in Virginia, employing over 80,000 Virginians and driving billions of dollars in investment throughout the Commonwealth,” said J.R. Tolbert, Vice President of State Policy for AEE, in a statement. “The next Governor should look to the advanced energy industry as a key partner in driving economic development from the coalfields of Southwest to the Shenandoah Valley and the Tidewater region.”

In the memo, AEE included a list of its four priorities to grow Virginia’s advanced energy industry with the help of the commonwealth’s executive branch, including:

  • Allowing competitive procurement to attract investment and benefit consumers,
  • Expanding access to advanced energy to strengthen Virginia’s corporate presence and save taxpayer dollars for local governments,
  • Maximizing energy efficiency and demand response to create jobs and save consumers money and,
  • Modernizing the electricity system to focus on consumer needs.

“In addition to supporting over 80,000 jobs in Virginia and 3.3 million jobs across the United States, the advanced energy industry is poised to provide the technology and know-how to bring in a new era of secure, clean, and affordable energy,” the memo states.

The memo also outlined six desired executive actions and immediate, medium-term and long term legislative priorities for the future governor to take in order to align Virginia’s policies with AEE’s efforts toward cleaner, more efficient energy use within the commonwealth.

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