Look, Dominion Power might be environmentally disastrous and corrupting of Virginia’s entire system of government, but at least the good folks there understand the economics of power production, where it is now and where it’s headed, and are acting accordingly. Uh, right? On second thought…check this out and decide for yourself (bolding added for emphasis).
The price of offshore wind power has been dropping so quickly that it threatens to upend the electricity industry around the world.
…By 2016, offshore wind prices had nearly dropped to the level the UK government offers for new nuclear plants — and would “likely” soon beat them, [Ray Thompson, chief of business development at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy] told the EnergyCollective. That’s doubly true given the historical cost escalations of nuclear power.
And based on current forecasts, explained Thompson, “the point at which offshore wind can compete with the lowest cost of new electricity plants [new combined cycle gas plants] is surely in sight.”
So yeah, offshore wind power costs are plummeting – just as solar power costs are plummeting, onshore wind costs are plummeting, and energy efficiency continues to be the cheapest form of energy there is – while new nuclear power plant costs are out of control. Now, a rational power company with rational incentives would, obviously, be switching as quickly as possible to the forms of power whose costs are plummeting, not soaring, not to mention helping solve environmental problems – not exacerbate them. Also worth noting is that Virginia has enormous offshore wind resources, enough to power 83% of our power needs, and 100% with clean energy when combined with energy efficiency, utility-scale and distributed solar power.
But here’s the dirty secret behind Dirty Dominion: as long as the “captured” Virginia state legislature and regulatory agencies (e.g., the DEQ and State Corporation Commission) keep giving them anything/everything they want and enriching these guys at the expense of every other Virginian, the environment, etc., why would Dirty Dominion change its dirty ways? Answer: they SHOULD — but they probably WON’T, as long as their executives and top shareholders keep raking in the $$$, and as long as their bought-and-paid-for State Senators, Delegates, etc. keep doing their bidding.
Which is exactly the reason why it’s so important not just for our politicians (e.g., Tom Perriello, who totally “gets it,” along with the 60+ Democratic House of Delegates candidates and two Democratic Lt. Governor candidates – Susan Platt and Gene Rossi – who have signed onto Activate Virginia’s pledge not to accept campaign contributions from Dirty Dominion or Even-Dirtier Appalachian Power) to tell Dominion where to shove its dirty money, where to shove its fracked gas pipelines, and where to shove its antiquated/unsustainable business model. It’s also important to change our laws in Virginia, for instance to make it illegal for a state-regulated monopoly to give any money, gifts, or anything else to the people who ostensibly regulated them.
Finally, what’s needed is to continue making Dirty Dominion politically toxic, which they richly deserve to be. As Chesapeake Climate Action Network Mike Tidwell and Virginia Organizing Chairperson LaDelle McWhorter write in today’s Washington Post (bolding added for emphasis):
[Terry McAuliffe] could reverse himself and save his decidedly mixed environmental legacy. Under the federal Clean Water Act, McAuliffe has the power to stop Dominion’s radical Atlantic Coast Pipeline by denying the company the water pollution permits it needs. A proposed pipeline in New York state was halted this way.
In Virginia, that could set the stage for an era in which leaders not only reject Dominion’s cash but also permanently reject the company’s entire pro-pollution agenda. The commonwealth could then begin to catch up with neighbors North Carolina and Maryland on wind and solar power. And instead of a moonscape, Roberts Mountain in Nelson County could become a fully forested testament to an entirely new environmental order in Virginia.