Eagles in the Valley: The mark of a successful comeback

At 600 yards it’s difficult, at first, to get a perspective of the size of the nest hid in the center of a tree on a farm field edge near Singers Glen. The realization that the sycamore is probably at least 50 feet tall means the nest must be more than four feet across. A passing flock of geese disturbs the occupant of the gigantic tangle of sticks and grass. The bird takes flight, its wings unfolding to reveal an unmistakable white head and tail. The bald eagle flaps lazily, gaining altitude as it glides in an arc that takes it towards Little North Mountain.   

As solar panels keep popping up, “affordable” and “renewable” emerge as potentially conflicting priorities for electric grid

For the moment, HEC’s guiding mission is to provide “affordable and reliable” electricity to the citizens of Harrisonburg – and using price as a metric, it has been wildly successful. “Right now, for last year and this current year, we have the lowest residential rate in the state of Virginia, and have always been in the top two or three for as long as I can remember,” said Brian O’Dell, HEC’s General Manager. Right now, one kilowatt-hour of electricity costs about 10.5 cents in Harrisonburg.

But as behind-the-meter solar generation in Harrisonburg continues to rise, “affordable” and “renewable” may become conflicting priorities because of how HEC – and most other utilities – structure their rates.