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Virginia Economic Roundup: DOE Awards Dominion $47 Million for Offshore Wind Project

 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Dominion Virginia Power an additional $47 million to help fund construction of a wind turbine demonstration project off the coast of Virginia Beach.

The project consists of two six-megawatt wind turbines in federal waters about 24 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The turbines will produce enough energy to power up to 3,000 homes.

Dominion will seek State Corporation Commission (SCC) approval to have the turbines operational in 2017. The company says the project could have an economic impact of $10 million.

Dominion is one of three companies to advance to the second phase of demonstration and receive additional funding over the next four years. The other projects were Fishermen’s Energy, which is planning a project off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J., and Principle Power, which is planning a project off the coast of Coos Bay, Ore.

McAuliffe Gives Green Light to Resume Poultry Exports to China

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has given Virginia poultry companies the go-ahead to export poultry to China for the first time since 2007.

China banned Virginia poultry imports that year after a case of low pathogenic avian influenza was reported on a Virginia farm. Commonwealth officials argued that the case was isolated and did not pose a food safety or poultry health risk.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore says that Virginia could gain as much as $20 million annually in poultry export sales to China.

Monthly E-ZPass Fee Will End July 1

Drivers with a Virginia E-ZPass transponder will no longer be charged a monthly account maintenance fee starting July 1.

The bill abolishing the fee passed the General Assembly unanimously and McAuliffe signed it into law Tuesday. Virginia currently charges between 50 cents and $1 per month per transponder, depending on the model.

It costs Virginia approximately $12.5 million annually to operate the E-ZPass program. The account fees, in place since 2012, brought in about $5 million a year. Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick said the difference will be covered in part by transaction fees collected from toll facilities for every E-ZPass toll assessed. The commonwealth will raise those fees, currently about 3.5 cents per toll, by an amount to be determined.

VDOT Presents Proposal for Revamp of U.S. 29 in Charlottesville

VDOT has unveiled its $203 million plan for unclogging U.S. 29, the main north-south artery in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, to a 10-member advisory panel.

The plan must be approved by the state’s transportation board and local officials before work can begin. The proposal is centered on a new interchange at Rio Road and extensions of Berkmar and Hillsdale drives in Albemarle County.

The advisory panel began meeting after a proposed $244 million bypass of U.S. 29 fell through in March.

No votes have been submitted yet.