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Virginia Mercury (Opinion): Virginia's New Renewable Energy Goals Can Spur Job Creation, If Combined with Action from the General Assembly

Posted by Devin Welch on Oct 2, 2019

The Virginia Mercury published an opinion piece by Devin Welch, of AEE member Sun Tribe Solar, calling on the Virginia Assembly to support clean energy for economic reasons, including jobs. Welch referenced and linked to AEE's recent Virginia jobs report, and called for expanding the successful Power Purchase Agreement Pilot program. Read excerpts below and the entire Virginia Mercury piece here. 

Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam made an exciting announcement: that Virginia would aim to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. It’s an ambitious — but essential — target, and much of the reporting post-announcement has focused on a major impetus behind this kind of goal setting: climate change and the very real impact it will continue to have on communities throughout the commonwealth. 

Yet there’s another, equally important, reason to celebrate this news: renewable energy goals can drive job growth throughout the commonwealth and allow businesses like ours to continue to create new, family-supporting careers. But that can only happen if our legislators in Richmond are willing to join in the effort.

The impact of renewable energy on Virginia’s economy was made clear in August, when a report from Virginia Advanced Energy Economy found that advanced energy sector employs 101,400 Virginians...

These companies already employ more people than every hospital in the commonwealth combined. But the truth is that statistics don’t really tell the whole story, because jobs aren’t really about numbers at all — they’re about people.

At our Charlottesville-based company, Sun Tribe Solar, we’ve created over 75 full-time, family-supporting jobs with full benefits, for entry-level solar installers to construction managers, electricians and engineers. These are the talented colleagues I have a chance to work with every day as we try to change the way Virginia gets its energy...

Read the entire Virginia Mercury Opinion piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News