( – promoted by lowkell)
The Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition lauded Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s announcement today to delay plans for what would be the largest coal-fired power plant in Virginia. The temporary halt will allow the company, its customers, government officials and the conservation community to explore alternatives that will cost less and cause less harm to the environment.
The coalition has long opposed the $6 billion coal plant and has mobilized tens of thousands of citizens across the state who are concerned about air pollution, mercury poisoning of waters, mountaintop removal coal mining and the consequences of a warming planet. Since 2002, plans for 133 coal-fired plants in the U.S. have been dropped for economic, environmental and other reasons, according to the Sierra Club.
ODEC, according to its press statement, is delaying the project for a coal plant in Surry County by one-and-a-half to two years. The coalition today called on the utility to pull the plug on the coal plant altogether and instead commit to deploying more energy efficiency resources and to pursuing cleaner sources of energy, including offshore wind and solar. These sources of energy would more than offset the 1,500 megawatts from the delayed plant.
On the flip are statements from Appalachian Voices, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
“The degree of citizen opposition to the plant is clearly more than ODEC bargained for. Opponents in Dendron and Surry County really made their voices heard. When the Surry County Planning Commission took this up, at least 200 people showed up and the great majority of speakers opposed the plant. This gives ODEC a sense of what to expect if it pursues state and federal permits and they can already see the opposition building in the greater Hampton Roads area and among their retail co-ops’ ratepayers,” said Tom Cormons, Virginia Director.
Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
“We are encouraged that ODEC recognizes that inevitable carbon pollution regulation will continue to make fossil fuels an incredibly poor investment. As ODEC continues to voice their commitment to this plant, we will continue to make every effort to obstruct this project while pursuing alternatives like energy efficiency and renewable energy sources,” said Mike Tidwell, CCAN director.
“This is a prudent pause by ODEC. With the advances in efficiency and renewable energy this delay allows ODEC to keep their options open,” said Glen Besa, Virginia Director of the Sierra Club.
Southern Environmental Law Center:
“All Virginians-watermen on the Chesapeake Bay, downwind families affected by smog and soot pollution, ODEC customers who would be facing higher electric bills to pay for the new plant-can breathe a sigh of relief, but this is not over. The coalition remains engaged in the permitting processes before the Army Corps of Engineers and elsewhere, and we hope to work with ODEC on the clean energy alternatives that produce jobs, keep electricity rates down, and reduce harmful air and water pollution,” said SELC senior attorney Cale Jaffe.