At a recent event held at the Chamber of Commerce in Hampton Roads—the east coast epicenter of military activity—Sen. Frank Wagner spoke directly about the urgent need for Virginia to seize the economic development opportunities in clean energy:
“If Virginia acts quickly, and puts the right policies into place, we can take a leadership role in the development of clean energy technologies,” Sen. Wagner said. “If we don’t, we will either be left behind, or will end up with enormous utility rates.”
The Hampton Roads Chamber, which has 2,500 member businesses, hosted Sen. Wagner and Dr. Leo Goff, a retired Navy Captain and national security expert, to brief businesses on:
- How economic and national security interests are driving the U.S. Military to make significant investments in clean energy, and
- How member businesses and the local workforce are positioned to take advantage of the job growth and investment opportunities in clean energy.
“With the right market-driven policies in place, Hampton Roads can capture a significant share of new clean energy jobs and investments,” said Bryan Stephens is the President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, “and we want to help our member businesses do just that.”
In the Hampton Roads region, which includes the popular Virginia Beach area, construction firms are conducting energy efficiency retrofits and installing solar panels; and manufacturing plants are being repurposed to produce supply chain components for wind turbines and battery storage.
Dr. Goff, a Program Manager for CNA’s Military Advisory Board, an elite group of retired three- and four-star flag and general officers, pointed out that neighboring North Carolina is leading Virginia as a producer of solar energy because they have the policies that encourage it.
“The second-largest producer of solar in the nation is North Carolina,” said Goff. “They’re just one state to the south, so it’s not a matter of geography; it’s a matter of the policies.”