From the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN)
Dominion Energy and Youngkin unite behind corporate profit grab that would bankrupt Virginians and exacerbate climate change
Richmond, VA — Yesterday, Dominion Energy published its latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which outlines a series of methods to meet energy demand in its territory. Dominion recommends making unprecedented capital expenditures that it will pass on directly to customers. Included in the IRP is a push for small modular reactors (SMRs), a new nuclear reactor prototype that costs up to $10 billion each at a nameplate capacity of 300 megawatts of electricity and is currently operational only on one floating barge in Russia. A solar facility costs 3% as much per megawatt of nameplate capacity.
The IRP also imagines eliminating mandatory retirements of coal-fired power plants – a signature piece of Virginia’s plan to move to 100% clean energy – and expanding the use of gas-fired plants. Many case scenarios suggest Dominion abandon the clean energy goals outlined in the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act. All iterations of the IRP assume that Virginia will exit the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by 2024, despite a lack of legal authority for Virginia to do so without the approval of the legislature.
The changes outlined in Dominion’s IRP would contribute directly to global warming and force Virginia to give up its position as a national leader on climate. Reckless capital expenditures on unproven energy technology and rolling back of climate progress are also key provisions of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s 2022 Energy Plan. He issued a laudatory press release late Monday night, raising the specter of a dangerous new alliance between Dominion and the Governor, who sparred over utility regulation this past legislation session.
Victoria Higgins, the Virginia Director for CCAN, stated:
“We should recognize this unholy union between billionaire Governor Youngkin and Dominion for what it is: a corporate profit grab that would bankrupt Virginians and exacerbate climate change. The state can meet demand without compromising our clean energy goals or forcing Virginians to choose between energy and food. Suggesting new fracked gas infrastructure in 2023 is patently absurd.”
Dominion Energy, a regulated monopoly, is responsible for its own energy planning and has historically steered towards large capital expenditures that provide the company maximum profit. As of February 2023, Virginians rank 8th in the country for highest energy bills.
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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For more than 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.