HomePoliticsWind energy developer funded Dem senator advocating offshore wind 2023
Wind energy developer funded Dem senator advocating offshore wind 2023
May 6, 2023
In recent years, a multibillion-dollar energy entrepreneur has wired tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine’s campaign while actively promoting a major offshore wind project.
Since 2011, Richmond-based Dominion Energy’s PAC has donated $23,000 to Kaine for Virginia, including $1,500 in February. In that period, Dominion Energy gave $44,500 to Common Ground PAC, Kaine’s leadership PAC.
Dominion Energy CEO Robert Blue and Senior Vice President William Murray gave Kaine $19,600 since 2021.
“Dominion Energy believes in full transparency of its political donations,” spokeswoman Ryan Frazier told Fox News Digital via email. “We give to a bipartisan mix of leaders at the state and federal levels and have supported Sen. Kaine since his bid for lieutenant governor in 2001, after he was mayor of the city Dominion Energy calls home.”
Dominion Energy continues to create Virginia’s first offshore wind farm. Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW), located off Virginia Beach’s southern coast, has two operating pilot wind turbines and will have 176-205 turbines on 112,800 acres by 2026.
Kaine has advocated for the nation’s largest offshore wind farm, asking federal regulators to speed up the approval process and earning millions in funds for supporting projects.
“We are proud that the first two wind turbines permitted and constructed in federal waters are off our Commonwealth’s coast, producing clean energy for Virginians,” Kaine and other Virginia lawmakers wrote to BOEM in March 2021, demanding faster CVOW approval.
“Unfortunately, we have heard from local stakeholders and constituents that the adjacent CVOW project is at risk of delays due to the backlog at BOEM,” the letter added. “Please provide any additional information that will help us fully understand the challenges BOEM faces and how you plan to expedite the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.”
BOEM released its notice of intent four months after the letter, starting its environmental evaluation.
“I’m thrilled to see this project underway as it’s an exciting step toward a clean energy economy that creates good jobs in the commonwealth,” Kaine stated in a July 2021 Dominion Energy news release. “I will keep pushing for clean energy investments in Virginia to boost our economy and build a more sustainable future.”
In December 2021, Kaine and fellow Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner announced $20 million in federal financing to enhance the Portsmouth Marine Terminal, making it a staging place for CVOW construction and development. He said the money “goes a long way towards establishing Virginia as a hub for offshore wind development.”
BOEM released a draft environmental impact statement supporting the company’s application, clearing the door for final approval.
Kaine’s spokeswoman denied that campaign contributions influenced his decisions or projects.
“Senator Kaine makes decisions based on his own research and conscience, as informed by his intense listening to Virginians,” a spokeswoman told Fox News Digital. Senator Kaine has collected $40 million from 100,000 contributors since 2011. Donations don’t influence him.”
In recent months, offshore wind development has been criticized for its possible harm to marine animals including endangered whales, commercial fisheries, cargo boats, and maritime communications. Offshore wind installations might hinder naval operations, the Pentagon warned.
“Offshore wind enjoys bipartisan support in Virginia and federally,” said Frazier, Dominion Energy’s spokeswoman. Virginia offshore wind legislation passes handily. The initiative addresses shipping channels, commercial fishing, marine biodiversity, and more.
“The company has engaged the U.S. military and commercial fishermen since development of the project began,” he noted. Federal permitting addresses all environmental concerns. Virginia will benefit from clean energy and employment from the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. Everyone wins.”