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Renewable Energy Subcommittee To Be Briefed On Biomass

Virginia Commission on Energy and Environment Renewable Energy Subcommittee will meet Thursday, Oct. 22, at 10 a.m. the Pittsylvania County Library located at 207 Coffey St. in Gretna. Public Policy Virginia will brief on The Community Power Initiative, a campaign for a series of community-sized electrical generation facilities with Virginia grown and harvested biomass as feedstock.  

“CPI (the Community Power Initiative) represents a great opportunity for Virginia, and we’re elated that the Renewable Energy Subcommittee is interesting in learning about the many benefits the Commonwealth stands to gain from a biomass economy,” said Al Weed, chairman of Public Policy Virginia, a non-profit advocacy organization focused on climate change and rural revitalization. 

Delegate Charles Poindexter, chair of the subcommittee, invited PPV to the meeting.  Delegate Poindexter is interested in ways that Richmond can encourage renewable energy in Virginia.  

Weed said he will propose measures the committee can recommend to the General Assembly, including mandatory renewable energy standards and a commission to study how state agencies could contribute to biomass energy development. 

“With a few simple steps Richmond can encourage the development of a market for fuel crops that would have far reaching effect on Virginia’s economy and energy future.”  Weed continued, “Not to mention dramatic effects on land conservation, wildlife habitat, the Chesapeake Bay, and climate change.”

CPI calls for utilizing two resources that Virginia has in abundance, cropland and timber. 

“We have a unique combination of biomass resources.  First and foremost are is the agricultural community.  Virginia farmers need a new cash crop, and warm season grasses would flourish in their fields and pocketbooks.  Additionally, there are thousands of tons of unused woody residues left in our forest and mill floors.  These could also generate electricity and revenue,” Weed explained.

The meeting is open to the public.