by Glen Besa
CODE RED: Is Dominion Energy really intending to more than double its climate pollution in Virginia?
2021 Dominion Energy’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory: 16,999,800 metric tons (as reported by Dominion Energy to US EPA GHG Reporting Program)
2048 Dominion Energy’s Greenhouse Gas Est. Emissions: 36,000,000 metric tons (Dominion Energy’s 2023 IRP, page 7, preferred plans B and C summary)
As Virginia’s largest greenhouse gas polluter, you’d think there’d be greater scrutiny of Dominion’s climate pollution numbers. Embracing Governor Youngkin’s all of the above climate catastrophe plan, it appears that Dominion Energy is abandoning commitments to renewable energy sufficient to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.
Case in point: Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) was released on May 1st of this year drawing immediate praise from Governor Youngkin for doubling down on natural gas/methane power plants and Small Modular Reactors or SMRs–note that SMRs don’t yet exist and those promoting SMRs leave out the “N” for nuclear.
Dominion Energy’s IRP is the non-binding long range energy plan it files with the State Corporation Commission proposing how it will keep the lights on and ensure Dominion’s continued profitability.
On page 7 of Dominion’s IRP, there is a handy chart that summarizes alternative plans A through E. Plan A is the business as usual plan that no one takes seriously, and under that Plan Dominion would be emitting 43.8 million metric tons of carbon pollution from its fossil fuel generating fleet. Plans D and E also are not taken seriously by Dominion Energy because these are the plans Dominion proposes would be necessary to meet its obligation to be at net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
That leaves Plans B and C, basically Dominion Energy’s preferred plans although they don’t come right out and say it. Both Plans B and C rely on lots more natural gas (3,000 megawatts) added to its existing bloated fossil fuel fleet resulting in carbon pollution emissions of 36 million metric tons in 2048 despite the requirements of the Virginia Clean Economy Act that Dominion be at net zero emissions by 2045.
An indication that Plans B or C are Dominion’s preference is it’s recent announcement to pursue 1,000 megawatts of methane powered generators in Chesterfield County even before its proposed IRP is accepted by the State Corporation Commission.
Here’s where Dominion’s climate math gets awfully murky. Dominion Energy is obliged to report its greenhouse gas emissions each year to the US EPA. The latest numbers available are for the 2021 calendar year, and digging up Dominion’s reported emissions from all its Virginia based sources totals 17 million metric tons (actually, 16,999,541 metric tons).
So why do Dominion’s own numbers show it proposing to more than double its climate pollution as the world literally burns? Dominion Energy owes us all an explanation.