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Newly Elected Governors Tout Energy Plans

November 11, 2009

All eyes are on New Jersey and Virginia as newly elected governors soon will unveil action plans and proposals for their first year in office. During the recent gubernatorial campaigns, Governors-elect Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell both outlined plans to transform their respective states’ economies and create high-paying jobs through targeted investments in renewable energy. The following is an overview of the energy proposals outlined during the campaigns.

New Jersey
Gov.-elect Chris Christie’s Energy as Industry plan focuses on re-branding New Jersey to promote the state’s resources to energy producers and providing incentives for renewable energy manufacturers to locate in the state and create high-paying jobs.

A major component of the Christie plan involves recruiting foreign and domestic energy companies to the state. To this end, the governor-elect announced a two-part marketing campaign, the “Choose New Jersey Energy” campaign and “Renew NJ” initiative. The first part is a re-branding effort to market and sell New Jersey’s resources to energy producers, innovators and developers. The latter component would move all economic development efforts related to renewable energy from the Board of Public Utilities to “Renew NJ.” This one-stop shop would serve companies working to promote the state and market to prospective energy manufacturers at home and abroad and deliver grants, loans and other state incentives in an efficient and timely manner, documents note.

To make the state more attractive to energy manufacturers, the Christie plan calls for a tax credit of up to 100 percent of the corporate business taxes or the insurance premium tax for any wind turbine manufacturing facility that locates in the state. The Christie plan also promises to create five higher-paying clean energy production jobs for every one lower-paying efficiency job in the first four years of the Administration.

Another component of the Christie energy plan deals with harvesting solar energy. The governor-elect wants to install solar farms on more than 10,500 acres of active and closed landfills throughout the state. The plan requires that New Jersey landfills regulated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection install solar farms as part of their closure plans and on-going maintenance permits. Additionally, the plan allows Permanently Preserved Farmland to use up to 20 percent for solar panel installation.

The Energy as Industry plan is available at: http://www.christiefornj.com/images/energyasindustry.pdf.

Three major components to Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell’s comprehensive energy plan include creating high-quality green jobs, leveraging resources to capitalize on traditional and alternative energy R&D, and becoming a global leader in university-based energy R&D. The plan, which relies on both traditional and renewable forms of energy, supports offshore exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia. Following are selected specific action-items proposed in the plan.

Alternative and Renewable Forms of Energy and Creating Green Jobs:

  • Establish Virginia as a “Green Jobs Zone” to incentivize companies to create quality green jobs. Under the plan, qualified businesses could receive an income tax credit equal to $500 per position created per year for the first five years (up to 350 jobs annually).
  • Expand the Virginia Alternative Fuels Revolving Loan Fund to include infrastructure such as refueling stations, provide seed money, and aggressively pursue additional grants. No funds have been allocated thus far for the Fund, which was established to assist local governments that convert to alternative fuel system.

Leverage resources to capitalize on traditional and alternative energy R&D:

  • Leverage the $100 million in funding made available through the Tobacco Commission by attracting private sector investment, seeking federal stimulus money, and coordinating grant opportunities with universities and community colleges.
  • Establish a Virginia Energy Institute bringing together research capabilities of the state’s major research universities under one canopy to help focus efforts on developing energy technologies for the 21st century.
  • Establish a Center for Energy as part of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to work with local economic development organizations and Industrial Development Authorities to maximize the potential for energy related investment in Southside and Southwest Virginia.

Become a global leader in university-based R&D:

  • Establish the Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation to gain access to federal stimulus funds. The Foundation will identify, obtain, disperse and administer funding for R&D of alternative fuels, clean energy production, and related technologies, and assistance in commercialization of alternative fuels and clean energy technologies.

The full plan is available at: http://www.bobmcdonnell.com/images/site_images/PDF_Forms/More_Energy_More_Jobs_Fact_Sheet.pdf

New Jersey, Virginiaelections, state tbed