Critics: Dominion Plans Rely Too Much on Fossil Fuels
Friday, October 7, 2016
RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Virginia Power wants to rely too heavily on fuels that change the climate, according to critics of the state's largest utility. Dominion has filed its Integrated Resource Plan with the State Corporation Commission. Depending on which version is approved, the company would raise greenhouse-gas emissions between 14 and 83 percent over the next 25 years. That's in spite of state, federal and international policies all calling for sharp emission cuts.
Glen Besa, former director of the Sierra Club's Virginia chapter, thinks Dominion would invest too much in expensive new pipelines and gas-fired power plants, with consequences for customers as well as the environment.
"To the extent that they are shut down, it will represent stranded costs, and those costs will ultimately get put on the ratepayer," he said. "So, customers of Dominion are going to be forced to pay to bail Dominion out for this bad investment."
Dominion argues that natural gas is cheap, new gas plants are extremely efficient, and new capacity is needed to meet expected increases in demand.
As the coast warily watches Hurricane Matthew, climatologists say Virginia is increasingly vulnerable to sea-level rise and other environmental changes as well.
Steve Nash, author of the book Virginia Climate Fever, said Richmond is already on track to see much higher temperatures by mid-century.
"Three times as many days over 90 degrees each year," he said. "That's about three months a year of 90-plus days. In fact, Virginia is on track to have the same climate as South Carolina."
The critics also charge that Dominion Virginia's corporate parent makes much of its money from gas drilling, transportation, and sales.
Alden Cleanthes, the Hampton Roads organizer for the group Mom's Clean Air Force, said if the utility spends billions on infrastructure to use natural gas, it will be that much harder to seek cleaner alternatives.
"We cannot move forward accepting a plan from our power company to continue contaminating our community," she stated. "It has continued because it is profitable, not because it is desirable or necessary."
Regulators are expected to rule on the plan late this year or early next year.
get more stories like this via email
North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …
Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…
The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…
A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …
Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…
Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …
Health and Wellness
New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …
Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …