|Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced that the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) awarded Virginia a $775,000 grant to support the siting of wind energy projects across the Commonwealth.
“As clean energy continues to grow rapidly across the Commonwealth, it is becoming increasingly important that we work together to mitigate any impacts on our military installations and the adjacent communities,” said Northam. “Virginia is home to valuable land and air assets that are vital to our economy, and the training and readiness of our service members. This federal funding will support new resources to help ensure renewable energy development is mutually beneficial for all stakeholders.”
The grant from OEA’s Military Installation Sustainability program will fund work by Old Dominion University to develop a statewide mapping tool for military, industry, and community stakeholders to determine where renewable energy projects are viable and identify potential impacts on military missions, training, and operations early in the planning process. While renewable energy has many benefits for both defense and civilian communities, its development can adversely affect military installations by interfering with communication, airspace, radar systems, and test and training activities.
“Military training and developing alternative energy sources are both critical to Virginia’s economy,” said Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins. “This grant will support the development of a web-based model to avoid mission conflicts and facilitate continued collaboration between developers, communities, and the military as technology and energy requirements evolve.”
“The clean energy transition has highlighted the growing need for compatibility,” said John Warren, Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. “The tools developed with this grant will assist Virginia in establishing win-win scenarios for both developers and the communities which the projects will ultimately serve.”
Virginia consistently ranks among the top states in defense spending. According to a recently completed report commissioned by the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security contribute $103.7 billion to the Virginia economy annually.
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