The two men vying to lead Virginia made their case to energy consumers today at the Virginia Energy & Opportunity Forum held in Arlington, VA.  Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe each expressed support for an “all of the above”energy plan.

McAuliffe set out the goal of making Virginia the “capital of the new energy economy” while Cuccinelli pledged to protect Virginia’s right to develop its resources noting “coal is critical to Virginia’s energy security.”

Terry McAuliffe told the crowd he supported developing wind energy off Virginia’s coast.  Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Interior announced an auction.  “Massachusetts will prob. be 1st in the water. But we should be right behind them to be second,” McAuliffe said.

Noting affordable energy supplies are one of the biggest economic boosters available, Ken Cuccinelli told energy consumers, “Energy policy is economic policy.”   Cuccinelli pledged to fight back against efforts to take coal out of any electricity generation equation.  Cuccinelli noted that coal jobs are very important in rural areas of Virginia where high wage jobs are difficult to come by: “a war on coal is a war on the poor.”

CEA Southeast, an affiliate of Consumer Energy Alliance organized the forum along with its partners the Thomas Jefferson Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Ocean Industries Association, Shell Oil Co., the Virginia Manufacturers Association, and Babcock & Wilcox.

The forum also included two expert panels.  NOIA President Randall Luthi led a panel examining the impact  of offshore energy exploration and CEA board member Brett Vassey led a panel on the future of electricity generation.   CEA Southeast is hosting a forum in Nashville in September that will look further into this question.