The campaign trail can lead to some unusual places. Wednesday morning, Virginia'sU.S. Senaterace stopped at the regional water pollution control plant.
Kaine was touting an energy plan he says will take advantage of traditional and alternative energy sources.
"And we need to have policies that promote the use of innovation," Kaine told reporters during the tour, "whether it's conversion of methane to energy, or wind and solar that can be used to make America the energy innovator of the world."
Virginia Republicans say Kaine's energy plan is not an "all of the above" approach as he suggests.
Kaine faces Republican George Allen in the November election.
Here is the full text of a Kaine campaign news release:
Richmond, VA - Today, former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine toured the Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) in Roanoke, a facility using innovative strategies to help meet its energy needs, to discuss his all of the above energy strategy, “Strengthening Our Economy Through Energy Innovation.” The stop in Roanoke is the third in a series of events Kaine will hold across the state to discuss his energy approach with manufacturers, stakeholders, employees of energy facilities, and other parties.
"I have been a huge promoter of alternative energy and techniques like this that are innovative. It's really important to promote energy innovation and the Roanoke Valley has some great examples," saidKaine. "My opponent often ridicules wind and solar as unproven technology. Its not unproven, it's working. We need policies that promote the use of innovation."
Throughout the event, Kaine spoke with facility employees and emphasized his support for supplementing traditional fossil fuels with biofuel and biomass products—industries that create jobs and advance Virginia’s energy independence. As governor, Kaine expanded the Commonwealth’s liquid fuels and bioenergy production and awarded $10 million in federal funds to biomass projects across the state, including $500,000 for the Roanoke WPCP to install a combined heat and power system with methane generators. In addition to serving 120,000 sewer customers and treating 37 million gallons of wastewater per day, the Roanoke WPCP now generates nearly half of its own power needs.
"When I was governor, we helped this facility use methane and convert it to energy," said Kaine. "By doing that here at the plant they are able to produce between 30 and 50 percent of their energy instead of buying it, which saves dollars and brings down rates for consumers and businesses."
As the Roanoke Times reported, Western Virginia Water Authority spokeswoman Sarah Baumgartner said Kaine's investment in the construction of the generators will pay for itself within seven years due to savings on energy costs.
Other parts of Kaine’s all of the above energy policy proposal include tapping natural gas and oil drilling off the coast of Virginia, increasing conservation, and building advanced energy infrastructure. As governor, Kaine implemented the Commonwealth’s first comprehensive energy policy and oversaw the permitting of a cleaner coal plant in Wise County.
For more than a year, Kaine has toured the Commonwealth, talking with concerned workers.
Here is the full text of Republican Delegate Greg Habeeb's response released by the Republican Party of Virginia:
While Tim Kaine touts his new-found election year position on energy, Virginians know his record for delaying offshore energy development, supporting Cap-and-Trade and championing EPA regulations speaks louder than words. Tim Kaine stands as an 'unabashed' supporter of President Obama as he blocks good-paying jobs with the Keystone Pipeline and wages a regulatory assault on coal that will destroy thousands of Virginia jobs. Virginia families and communities can't afford to have Tim Kaine as a Senator for President Obama.