Tag: environmental news
June’s two biggest stories are the debt ceiling deal that cleared the way for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) completion and the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board’s vote to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Both stories made headlines in and outside Virginia. Both outcomes were setbacks for pipeline opponents and RGGI supporters.
Dominion issued its latest long-range Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Governor Youngkin announced that the 2023 IRP “validates [his] energy plan released in October 2022….” The plan calls for “new gas plants [and] advanced nuclear [that Dominion said] will be needed to meet soaring demand.” “Renewables alone aren’t expected to meet a projected increase in demand for electricity in the coming decades, Dominion … said in [its] … filing …. That means the state’s largest electric utility may seek to keep most of its existing power stations online for decades to come and seek to build additional small natural gas and nuclear units.”
“Virginia … [began its] official withdrawal [via the regulatory process] from [the] regional carbon market [known as RGGI, although] debates over legality of [the Youngkin administration’s and the Air Quality Control Board’s] move persist.”
The State Corporation Commission (SCC) recently approved Dominion’s offshore wind project, with the caveat that Dominion needs to achieve the projected capacity of 42% of the “stated 2,600 megawatts of output.” There have been a number of articles and opinions about the fact that the SCC’s approval was a foregone conclusion because of the authorizing legislation, about the costs and risks to ratepayers, about data that has remained hidden, and about the benefits the project will bring.
The 2021 National Solar Jobs Census showed an overall increase of 9% nationwide, with increases in 47 states. Virginia is not among the top 10 states, but did have job growth in this sector in the 10-15% range.
Washington & Lee University inked a “long-term virtual power purchase agreement” with a solar developer “to purchase enough solar energy to match 100% of the university’s annual electricity consumption.” Meanwhile, the Port of Virginia says it’s ahead of schedule on its goal to be carbon neutral by 2040, and will be meeting all its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2024.
A Breeze reporter highlighted JMU’s plans to install a 420 MW solar system on campus. Another reporter for the JMU student paper critiqued JMU’s sustainability practices, arguing that “installing a few solar panels … just isn’t cutting it….”
A Virginia energy policy expert describes whether and how the state can reach carbon-free electricity by 2035, while pointing out that Dominion and ApCo ratepayers face so-called renewable energy choices that don’t actually provide them such energy. The State Corporation Commission recently approved renewable energy plans put forward by the two large utilities to implement requirements of the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA).