( – promoted by lowkell)
This morning, I was one of about a dozen environmental advocates to attend Dominion Resources Inc.'s annual shareholder meeting in Charlottesville, while about 30 others rallied outside. Between shareholder proposals, comments and questions by shareholders and their proxies and the company's own presentations, reducing the company's impact on the environment was discussed almost as much as its financial performance. And the meeting left me hopeful that environmental advocates can work with Dominion to increase its investment in renewables, especially offshore wind power.
Just this Tuesday, we publicly launched a joint campaign between the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, Green Jobs Alliance and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light asking Dominion to work with us to invest in offshore wind power. So today I spoke at the shareholder meeting in support of a proposal for the company to set and pursue a goal of 20% renewable energy generation by 2024. Specifically, I spoke about the fact that while offshore wind power does require a greater investment up front, it carries fewer long-term financial risks than investing in fossil fuel power plants. The risks of building new fossil fuel generation include:
- –volatile prices for coal and natural gas that are set by an increasingly global market
- –the potential need for pollution control upgrades in order to comply with future environmental laws
- –and the risk of accidental releases, like the catastrophic spill of coal-ash that Tennessee Valley Authority had in 2008, which could cost millions in clean up expenses, not to mention the public relations fall-out.
In the end, none of the shareholder proposals related to protecting the environment passed but no one expected them to- if a progressive shareholder resolution garners more than 2-3% of the vote, that's generally considered a good showing. The resolution on mountain top removal coal mining got the most support with 9% of the vote. That resolution would have required Dominion to write a report "assessing (i) the impact of Dominion’s use of coal obtained through mountaintop removal coal mining, and (ii) the impact and optimum timing of a future policy ending use of coal obtained through mountaintop removal coal mining in Dominion’s energy-related operations and services."
Please help the VA4Wind coalition convince Dominion to invest in offshore wind power. You can sign on as an individual or, if you own a business or lead an organization of any type, sign onto Virginia Businesses and Organizations for Offshore Wind. You can also learn more at Energize Virginia: A Citizens’ Summit on Offshore Wind Power on June 4 in Richmond.