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American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: “Virginia could realize 100% of pollution reductions” Through Energy Efficiency Alone

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I’ve been saying this for years, but it’s great to see the superb American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) chiming in to the Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Here are a few key points from their Regulatory Filing regarding Gov. McAuliffe’s EO-57, Development Of Carbon Reduction Strategies For Electric Power Generation Facilities. Here are a few key points by ACEEE, with my comments in parentheses and italics following. Note that all of these are total “no brainers,” but of course in Dominion-dominated-and-corrupted Virginia, they haven’t happened and probably won’t happen unless Dominion is confronted head-on by our political leadership.

  • “Energy efficiency is an important strategy to reduce emissions in the electric power sector. As it lowers electricity use, it avoids emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants. Energy efficiency can substantially reduce carbon pollution from the electricity sector in Virginia, often at lowest cost.” (That’s why energy efficiency was dubbed “negawatts” by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, as “the cheapest watt is the one that’s never created.”)
  • “ACEEE estimates that if the Commonwealth placed a cap on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions or enacted another policy to reduce carbon pollution 30% by 2030, Virginia could realize 100% of pollution reductions through a suite of energy efficiency policies and programs.” (That’s right; all of Dominion’s bull**** about needing to build new power plants, run new pipelines and power lines through Virginia, etc. is…well, bull****, as I said. The first step for Dominion, before they even THINK about building new power plants, should be to max out on energy efficiency. After that, we should talk about adding solar and offshore wind power.)
  • Utilities can meet electricity demand by generating power, or they can encourage efficient technologies as a way to reduce their customers’ energy waste while providing the same level of service. In this way, energy efficiency is a resource similar to power plants, wind turbines, or solar panels.” (Exactly! The point is, with energy efficiency we can have our proverbial cake and eat it too – cheap, abundant power with no pollution. Why haven’t we done this? Very simple: Dominion Power has “captured” our government and is milking the antiquated, top-down, state-protected-monopoly-utility model for all it’s worth — even if it screws the rest of us big time.)
  • “States can promote alternative business models like full revenue decoupling and performance incentives for utilities, which help to remove the disincentive for them to invest in efficiency. In Virginia, natural gas utilities may decouple profits from sales, but electric utilities may not. Although utilities may seek recovery of lost revenues, in practice the SCC has not approved such requests. Virginia also does not offer performance incentives to electric or gas utilities.” (I’ve been advocating “decoupling” for years, but again, we need our political leadership to tell Dominion Poewr in no uncertain terms – shape up or we’ll make sure you do, one way or the other.)
  • Virginia should take the following steps: “1. Set a measurable and enforceable energy savings target; 2. Develop strong evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) protocols; 3. Modify the utility business model to treat energy efficiency as a resource; 4. Encourage energy efficiency program delivery in low-income and vulnerable communities; 5. Encourage energy benchmarking and transparency for commercial buildings; 6. Update building energy codes; 7. Advance energy efficiency in public buildings; 8. Develop a comprehensive plan to reduce transportation sector emissions.” (Again, all of these are total no-brainers, should have happened years ago but haven’t. Thanks a LOT Dominion Power!)
  • “These energy efficiency investments would benefit Virginia residents through lower electricity bills, more local jobs, and improved air quality.” (Right, but on the other hand, Dominion Power’s wealthy executives wouldn’t be able to lord it over us any more, especially if we move towards a more “distributed” energy system. In fact, at some point in the not-so-distant future, it’s debatable whether or not need Dominion Power at all. Wouldn’t that be awesome? If you agree, call your Virginia Delegate, State Senator, etc. and let them know how you feel!)