Home Energy and Environment Dominion Virginia Power Proves the Sierra Club Right

Dominion Virginia Power Proves the Sierra Club Right


Dominion Virginia Power CEO Paul Koonce has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post responding to a recent evisceration of Dominion by Virginia Sierra Club Vice Chair Ivy Main. She’d made three key charges:

  1. Dominion is using pre-existing hydro power or biomass projects of dubious environmental value for renewable energy credits
  2. Dominion is not building large-scale solar and wind projects in Virginia to deliver that energy to Virginia customers
  3. Dominion is insanely planning to slap a massive fee on customers who install their own solar power

Koonce’s response?

Our renewable generation includes one of the largest biomass plants in the East, taking advantage of one of Virginia’s richest renewable resources. Four more biomass projects are in various stages of construction or development. We operate several hydroelectric facilities and have announced plans for solar arrays on commercial and public buildings. Other Dominion companies operate large wind farms in Indiana and West Virginia.

That’s Koonce’s big rebuttal? That Dominion DOES rely heavily on existing hydro & questionable biomass, ISN’T currently building solar or wind in Virginia … oh, and the massive fees on renewable energy? The CEO of Dominion, which earned $1 billion in profit in the first 9 months of 2011 alone, calls them “simple matter of fairness.”

He might as well have written, “The 1% don’t have to explain themselves to people like you.”

  • are questionable. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, in fact, “A 20 Percent National Renewable Electricity Standard Will Save Consumers Money and Reduce Global Warming Emissions.”

    Under a national renewable electricity standard, consumers would experience a slight reduction in their cumulative electricity and natural gas bills compared to business as usual (BAU). By 2030, consumers would save cumulatively $16.4 billion on their electricity and natural gas bills under a 15 percent standard, and $10.8 billion under a 20 percent standard.3 Consumers in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors are all projected to save money on their energy bills.

    A national renewable standard increases the use of renewable energy and reduces the projected demand for fossil fuels, creating new competitors for the fuel sources that currently dominate the U.S. electricity mix. As a result, renewable energy helps reduce the price of fossil fuels and restrain the ability of fossil fuel prices to increase in the future. Natural gas and coal therefore costs less for electricity generation, as well as for other purposes, benefiting both electricity consumers and other natural gas consumers.

    Does the CEO of Dominion Power really not understand any of that, or is he just intentionally ignoring the long-term benefits (economic, national security, environmental) of switching to renewable energy?

  • Peggy

    Please would someone clarify for me what biomass is.  Is it incineration of trash?  

  • Peggy

    Curious to know where Dominion’s biomass comes from.  What is your position on whether or not garbage should be considered a renewable resource? thanks