Monday, March 23, 2009

Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium

Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium

VCERC was created by the VA legislature in 2007 and first received funds from the Commonwealth in fiscal year (July 1st 2007-June 30th 2008). Since July 2007 VCERC has developed coastal energy technologies and the Virginian knowledge base to assist the Commonwealth in meeting the targets set out in the VA Energy Plan. VCERC’s ongoing efforts impact three key VA Energy Plan objectives: creation of renewable energy resources; improving the environment; and economic development.

Specifically, VCERC provides the research and development required for the commercialization and implementation of renewable energy by using algal biomass, wind and wave resources available in Virginia. Algal biomass energy removes pollutants from Chesapeake Bay, represents an innovative win-win wastewater remediation-biofuel production technology, and avoids utilizing food crops, trees, and other valuable natural resources to produce fuel. Project expansion in algal biofuels and wind power will lead to spin-off industry, creating jobs, investment and lowering fuel prices in Virginia.

The VA General Assembly set out key energy policy statements and objectives. In reference to VA energy policy, VCERC’s efforts will:

  • Facilitate development of energy sources that are less polluting of the Commonwealth’s air and water, and … do not contribute to greenhouse gases and global warming
  • Foster research and development of alternative energy sources that are competitive at market prices
  • Develop energy resources and facilities that do not impose a disproportionately adverse impact on economically disadvantaged or minority communities
  • Increase VA’s reliance on agricultural-based ethanol and biodiesel from crops grown in the Commonwealth
  • Ensure that energy generation and delivery systems are located in places that minimize impacts to pristine natural areas and other significant onshore natural resources, and that are as near as possible to compatible development

The Consortium is governed by a board which consists of fourteen members - with representatives from each of the eight partner universities and six government and industry partners. The Consortium is located at Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

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