While wind power continues to grow across the country, the winds of hypocrisy have blanketed the Commonwealth of Virginia in the form of Dominion Virginia Power. While Virginia’s energy Goliath leased close to 113,000 acres of the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia Beach to supposedly construct an offshore wind farm, “their statements and company documents showed they have no intention of building anything larger than a small, two-turbine offshore test project unless the costs come down.” Did I also mention that Dominion Virginia Power’s executives are liars?
On the one hand, it’s impressive that Dominion Virginia Power would go to such great lengths to deceive the people of Virginia into believing that it was serious about Virginia’s future. During a six-round auction held by the Department of the Interior, Dominion managed to outbid Apex Virginia Offshore Wind with a $1.6 million winning bid to build wind turbines 27 miles off of Virginia’s coast. As it turns out, Dominion’s investment in Virginia’s energy future was nothing more than an investment in protecting Dominion’s virtual monopoly on large-scale renewable energy efforts off Virginia’s coast.
By staving off serious competitors from actually following through on building large scale wind farms, Dominion Virginia Power has fortified its comfortable place as Virginia’s fossil fuel distribution king. That is, a push towards renewable forms of energy like wind power would disrupt Dominion’s current business model and potentially reduce its profits in the short run.
What has been abandoned by Dominion and its political puppets, then, is the future of Virginia’s energy needs, ecosystem, and the welfare of its people in favor of Dominion’s own narrow interests. As long as Virginians and their political representatives remain apathetic about this unnecessary situation, business as usual will remain business as usual for Dominion.
To demand that Dominion Virginia Power begin investing more heavily in renewable energy is not to request that Dominion forego all attempts at turning a profit in Virginia. Dominion has been given a privileged position in Virginia’s energy infrastructure by the people of Virginia through their elected representatives and as such, has a responsibility to look out for the welfare of Virginians in addition to turning a profit every quarter.
It can no longer be argued that fossil fuel energy is in the best interest of Virginians or the planet. The consequences of fossil fuel energy on our planet have become so clear that even energy giants like Dominion have pretended to mitigate its use of fossil fuels vis-à-vis renewable energy. Dominion’s false promises, however, must come to an end and the people of Virginia and their elected representatives must hold the executives at Dominion Virginia Power accountable for their deceit and their stubborn inability to do what is right for Virginia. The costs of the average Virginians energy bill may rise, but so too will our health care and insurance costs as a consequence of fossil fuel energy’s negative effects on Virginia’s ecosystem.