America’s long-term goal should be to expand the use of low-polluting forms of energy. It’s good for the economy, good for America’s security and good for the environment. We need to be on the cutting edge of new clean energy technologies like wind, solar and nuclear power. Virginia has a particularly bright future in production of biodiesel from agricultural and forestry products.
I was the first Governor to put in place a state energy plan for Virginia. The plan calls for use of all Virginia energy sources -- coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear, hydropower, biodiesel, wind and solar -- and would reduce Virginia’s rate of growth in energy use by 40 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent, and seeks to increase in-state energy production by 20 percent. The plan also approved exploratory drilling for natural gas off the coast of Virginia. As Governor, I promoted next-generation cleaner coal technology during the permitting of a state-of-the-art coal-fired plant in Wise County. Finally, I proposed a change to state policy that created state incentives for utilities to use renewable fuels and invest in energy conservation.
We need a national energy policy that takes immediate advantage of Virginia and America’s own energy resources to end our dependence on foreign oil. But we also need a commitment to transition to a lower-carbon energy portfolio for the good of the economy, the environment and global security. Too many rogue nations who export terrorism pay for their mayhem with revenues gained from selling oil. If we make oil increasingly irrelevant, we’ll keep these hostile nations in check. And conservation must be a major part of our nation’s energy strategy, because the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t have to buy due to increases in efficiency and conservation. I am very supportive of recent efforts to modernize homes, schools, and municipal buildings in order to reduce consumption and therefore utility bills.