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Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., has signed an executive order establishing the Virginia Energy Council, which will make recommendations for the development and implementation of an updated Virginia Energy Plan.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones will chair the new 25-member council, and the updated plan is to be submitted to the General Assembly by Oct. 1. The council will be tasked with meeting various objectives, including developing strategies to promote a diverse energy mix and ways to accelerate the development and use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and offshore wind. McAuliffe is an outspoken supporter of offshore wind development, having recently announced related research grants and declaring the state is “open for business.”

Speaking about the new executive order, the governor says, “Virginia must develop an aggressive strategy to protect existing jobs in our energy industries while positioning the commonwealth to be a leader in new energy technologies.

“An innovative energy strategy will enable us to attract the best businesses and entrepreneurs to Virginia, create more jobs in growing industries and lead a 21st-century Virginia economy,” he continues. “As we move forward with this process, the Virginia Energy Council will be an important partner as we work toward meeting our energy goals.”

The council will receive and evaluate input offered by Virginia’s residents and businesses. The full executive order can be found here.

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