Clean Energy Economy
A clean energy economy will provide tens of thousands of good paying jobs. Clean energy already employs approximately 101,000 Virginians, and is projected to grow 7% in 2019, according to the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). According to the Department of Energy, solar and wind power are now cheaper than natural gas, which is the cheapest and cleanest of the fossil fuels.
Cheap, reliable energy will create additional incentives for businesses to relocate to Virginia, especially businesses with large energy requirements.
We already have tremendous potential in Virginia, with a massive, centrally-located port, educated and highly skilled workers, and the best business environment in the United States. We can take advantage of these opportunities to ensure sustainable growth for future generations of Virginians!
Our state tax policy can be used to effectively incentivize beneficial choices that might otherwise be inaccessible due to cost. Let's demand that our elected officials create tax incentives which will help lower carbon emissions and slow sea level rise.
1. Tax breaks for homeowners, business owners, and developers who use pervious materials to offset flood damage and decrease the strain on the public storm drain system.
2. Tax breaks for small scale solar on individual homes and businesses, scaled based on income, so that those with lower incomes get the most benefit. In addition, we need to remove the current penalties on small scale solar such as limits on the amount of solar power any one structure can produce.
3. Tax breaks for used and new electric vehicles, scaled based on income. For example, a family making $40,000 per year buying a $20,000 electric vehicle would receive a greater tax break than a family earning $100,000 buying the same vehicle.
4. Tax breaks for companies to manufacture components of renewable energy, such as wind turbines parts and solar panels. DMME states that manufacturing wind turbines will create 10,000-14,000 good paying jobs. The east coast continental shelf and the Great Lakes provide enough space for offshore wind farms to power the entire United States. Hampton Roads provides the only port with no bridges and a deep channel allowing access to large ships needed to transport the large wind turbine structures. As Mark Twain said, "During the Age of the Gold Rush, it's good to be in the pick and shovel business."
5. Tax credits for new construction and remodeling that achieves LEED or similar certification for sustainable building practices. Increased energy efficiency lowers demand and production of centralized energy. Heat island mitigation helps slow down global warming. Absorbing storm water runoff on site as recommended by the Dewberry Report is an important, cost effective way to mitigate flooding.
6. Increased fines on individuals and companies who engage in activities that undermine the public good, such as developers who build homes in high-risk flood zones or homeowners who destroy natural flood barriers on their properties (e.g. trees and wetlands). This would help offset the cost of rebuilding homes and businesses destroyed or threatened by flooding or sea-level rise.