by Glen Besa
Dominion Energy’s new Integrated Resources Plan (IRP), released last week, earned high praise from Governor Glenn Youngkin for doubling down on fracked gas and (super-expensive) nuclear power. Nevermind, that the plan is inconsistent with the Virginia Clean Economy Act standards that would have Dominion phase out reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation by 2045.
In this new long-range energy plan, it appears that Dominion’s CEO Bob Blue has decided to join hands with Governor Youngkin in his efforts to repeal, or at least ignore both the Virginia Clean Economy Act and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, abandoning any pretense of caring about climate change and our children’s future.
Dominion is already Virginia’s biggest climate polluter, according to data provided by Dominion Energy to the US EPA. Of the top ten largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the Commonwealth, Dominion operates five of these facilities, the largest being the Greensville Power Station in Emporia, which alone released more than 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021 (the latest year for which data is currently available).
Across Virginia, the 136 stationary sources reporting GHG emissions in 2021 (mostly power plants, waste incinerators and manufacturing facilities) emitted 39.5 million metric tons of CO2e. Of that total, Dominion’s 15 power plants reporting emissions that year were responsible for 43% of the total or 16,999,541 metric tons.
Apparently, for Dominion CEO Bob Blue, that is not enough pollution. Dominion’s new long range plan proposes from 970 MW to 3 GW of additional fracked gas electricity capacity. Based on Greensville Power Station emission’s rate which Dominion touts as having “the strictest CO2 limits in the nation,” that translates to an additional 2.5 million to 7.6 million metric tons of climate pollution.
Bob Blue actually knows what Dominion needs to do. The utility’s 2022 Climate Report ‘models an “accelerated transition” scenario that reduces emissions more aggressively, in line with an effort to keep the global temperature increase to 1.5°C by 2050’, but concludes it’s too hard. Yet Blue continues to obstruct the move to clean energy and a sustainable, climate-and-people-friendly future. In addition to proposing more dirty energy in Dominion’s long range plan, Bob Blue is blocking more rooftop distributed solar simply because Dominion can’t own it.
Clearly, Big Dirty (aka Dominion Energy) aims to get even dirtier at our expense. These new gas plants will be paid for by increases in our electric bills, financed on the backs of our children whose future well being is threatened by an increasingly hostile climate.
How does one respond to such greed and willful ignorance on the part of politicians and corporate CEOs? Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s refrain in her speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit comes to mind, “How dare you!”
“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.”
Note: The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and are not intended to reflect the opinion or the positions of any organizations with which he may be associated.