Gov. Glenn Youngkin appeared Monday morning in the Hill City to unveil his 2022 Virginia Energy Plan, a plan he says will push the commonwealth “all in on innovation” to find ways to provide low-cost, renewable energy for residents and businesses.
Youngkin spoke at Delta Star Inc., a power transformer manufacturer on Mayflower Drive in Lynchburg, to a factory full of state and local leaders as well as Delta Star employees.
“The cost of a clean energy future does not have to come at the cost of a healthy, resilient and growing economy,” Youngkin said during his speech.
The governor added the root of his plan starts with rejecting the “false choice” that the commonwealth must choose between renewable energy and energy that is reliable and affordable.
“The idea that you can’t have both is just pure politics,” Youngkin said. “And it does not belong in a plan that is so important to Virginia’s future.”
People are also reading…
Youngkin’s plan has five guiding principles: reliability, affordability, innovation, competition and environmental stewardship.
To accomplish many of the goals of his plan, Youngkin said, “We need to be all in on nuclear energy in Virginia” — one of the reasons the Hill City was selected as the place to announce the plan.
He acknowledged leadership from BWX Technologies, a Lynchburg-based manufacturer of nuclear fuel and components that supplies products and services to both the U.S. government and commercial industry, and Framatome, a French nuclear reactor company with North American headquarters in Lynchburg. The two companies together employ thousands in the Lynchburg region.
Youngkin said Virginia is in a “unique position to lead” on the nuclear energy front.
Sen. Mark Warner also visited Lynchburg in September to discuss nuclear power opportunities in the commonwealth.
Youngkin said he has his eye on building the world’s leading nuclear-energy hub in Virginia, and said his “moonshot” plan is that Virginia will launch the first-ever commercial small modular nuclear reactor to serve customers in Southwest Virginia within the next 10 years.
“Energy innovation, like small modular reactors, will not only honor our calling to environmental stewardship, it will also deliver economic development opportunities, job creation ... and a tremendous place to live, work and raise a family all across the commonwealth,” Youngkin said.
“We need to advance policies that deliver a more reliable, more affordable, clean energy grid.”
Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, spoke during Monday’s event and said it was “fitting” the plan was rolled out in Lynchburg with the focus being on nuclear energy.
“There is no better way to provide clean energy for Virginia than increasing our use of nuclear energy and exploring the commercial use of emerging nuclear technologies, like small modular reactors,” Byron said.
Sen. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg, said Lynchburg is “going to be a hub for energy,” mentioning Delta Star Inc. and the two nuclear-industry companies. Newman said he believes the governor’s new plan allows consumers to win due to lower cost of their energy bills.
During his closing remarks, Youngkin criticized California for many of its energy issues in recent months, even mentioning its government has been forced to ask residents to turn off electricity to save power.
The governor warned under current standards, “we are on the same path” as California when it comes to energy.
Many of the issues in states such as California, Youngkin said, come down to the ideology that “only wind and solar can in fact be considered clean.
“If we are only to rely on wind and solar,” Youngkin said, “we will end up importing from other states in our region, other states, all of whom will continue burning natural gas, burning coal, to meet our energy needs.”
Beyond using nuclear energy, the Youngkin administration is looking at regulated monopolies in Virginia that exist around energy; developing hydrogen-fueled facilities; and creating strategies that embrace an “all-of-the-above plan that include natural gas, nuclear, renewables and the exploration of emerging sources to satisfy the growing needs of Commonwealth residents and businesses,” according to the plan.
To read the full Virginia Energy 2022 plan, visit Energy.Virginia.gov.