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Va. Legislative Panel Recommends Broader Clean Energy Program

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By Anne Marie Morgan

A legislative panel that advises Virginia's General Assembly on energy issues is recommending a wholesale revision of the state's incentive program to promote clean energy. But there was one issue the Commission on Energy and Environment has not resolved.

The legislation repeals both the solar photovoltaic and biofuels production incentive grants. It would replace them with a broader program that includes wind and manufacturing, more clean energy products, plus related equipment.

Panel Chair and State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D) applauded a new requirement for creating 200 jobs.

"I think the Commonwealth benefits more with the emphasis on jobs," Whipple says.

State Sen. Richard Stuart (R) was among those who were not sure that the grants should include ethanol from food crops due to potential engine damage.

"This ethanol is -- certainly in my district -- is creating a lot of problems...I get calls on it every day," he says.

The members endorsed the bill but said they will still try to reach a consensus on ethanol.

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