New Report: Dominion Energy Can Meet Electricity Demand in Virginia with Clean Energy
Report contradicts Dominion’s proposed plan to build new fossil fuel plants and impose enormous economic and social risks on Virginians
RICHMOND, VA – Energy analysts with the consulting firm Gabel Associates released a new report today detailing how Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest utility, can meet its projected growth in demand for electricity while improving compliance with the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The new report helps bolster the argument that Dominion’s recently proposed 1,000-mega gas plant in Chesterfield County is not needed.
The report notes that Dominion’s recently proposed “Integrated Resource Plan” (IRP), which includes plans to build up to seven new gas plants and extend the life of coal facilities, is “not compliant with laws passed by the General Assembly in 2020 and 2021, including the Virginia Clean Economy Act, and regulatory directives to account for economic externalities associated with air pollution.” However, Dominion’s flawed IRP does fall in line with Governor Glenn Youngkin’s fossil fuel-friendly Energy Plan.
The report, commissioned by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) Action Fund and carried out by the well-regarded energy consulting firm Gabel Associates, puts forth an alternative plan that focuses on clean energy generation while protecting ratepayers and maintaining system reliability.
“Dominion has a chance to cut costs for Virginians by $28 billion and slash greenhouse gas emissions by 52 million tons over the next decade without compromising system reliability simply by switching out old fossil fuel plants for new solar panels and battery systems,” said Adrian Kimbrough, Vice President, Gabel Associates.
The new Gabel report shows that a cleaner and more cost-effective resource plan is achievable if Dominion replaces aging fossil fuel capacity with renewable energy and storage. This approach would drastically reduce emissions, ratepayer costs, and societal damages while avoiding 52 million tons of emissions and $28 billion in costs when compared with the Dominion Plan.
”Dominion’s plan is a slap in the face to the lawmakers that voted for the Clean Economy Act, and a slap in the face to the Virginians that are expecting our lawmakers and our regulators to deliver cleaner air and a livable planet. ” said Victoria Higgins, Virginia Director of the CCAN Action Fund, “Clean energy solutions are available and exceedingly affordable right now.”
Meanwhile, despite local opposition, Dominion is moving forward on its plans to build a 1,000 Megawatt methane gas plant in Chesterfield, one of seven potential new gas plants per the IRP. Although Dominion has branded the project as a “peaker plant” that will only operate on the hottest or coldest days, the company’s own air permit application indicates that they plan to run it up to 37 percent of the time. The evening before Gabel Associates released its report, Dominion held a DEQ-mandated public briefing on the project in Chester.
More than 60 animated Chesterfield residents attended the meeting, expressing anger at the company’s intention to site another major fossil-fuel facility in the same area as a coal plant that has recently been shuttered, leaving large piles of toxic coal ash in the area. They also questioned the utility building a new significant source of pollution for the area without considering alternatives for meeting energy demands, such as solar, wind or energy efficiency. For more details and quotes from meeting participants, click here.
Victoria Higgins, CCAN Action Fund, email@example.com, 201-937-7017
KC Chartrand, CCAN Action Fund, firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-620-7144