Monday, December 9, 2019
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Dominion Continues its Gassy Rampage with another Natural Gas Plant in...

Dominion VA Power's most recent brilliant idea for turning Virginia into an energy independent Mecca that the world over can envy comes in the form of a $1.1 billion natural gas-fired power plant  in Southside Virginia.

If approved by Virginia's "regulators," that natural gas ship would start sailing (and polluting) in 2016.

While natural gas is a better energy alternative than the coal-fired power plants  at Dominion's Chesapeake Energy Center in Chesapeake and Yorktown Power Station that Dominion publicly announced it would close by 2016, natural gas is still a significant greenhouse gas threat and it's unclear how long natural gas can fill Virginia's energy needs in any meaningful way.

True energy independence is of course achieved through the use of solar and wind technology  to harness the Earth's natural sources of energy. So if Dominion VA Power is serious about energy independence, where are the $1.1 billion investments in these two energy sources?


Public Outreach Under Way While McDonnell Moves to His Own Toxic...

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently launched its five month public outreach effort in Danville, VA to "brief" the VA public on its recently released report on uranium mining, as required under the NAS agreement with Virginia Tech. As most of us know, however, Gov. McDonnell shrugged off this breathing period to take the numerous studies into consideration when he penned an executive order directing the creation of legal and administrative regulations for the milling and mining of uranium. So much for stakeholder education and input.

As the NAS report concluded that no technology currently exists that is capable of eradicating every risk and uncertainty involved with uranium mining, waste storage and processing, Gov. McDonnell must be assuming that the benefits outweigh the risks or that the risks are so minimal as to be of no consequence. If so, what is Gov. McDonnell basing his conclusions off of? The usual pseudo-science that the VA GOP has become adept at pulling out of thin air?

For a political party that lauds its ideological roots in Jeffersonian democracy and all that it implies, Republicans like McDonnell appear to have an ambiguous attitude towards the judgment of the people of Virginia. When were Southside Virginians asked if they wanted uranium mining and milling in their backyards? When was the public outcry in Virginia over uranium mining formally taken into account by the McDonnell administration? Why is the framework to mine and mill uranium being constructed well in advance of public input over the NAS report on uranium mining? The public, it seems, doesn't know what is good for themselves but luckily for Virginians, McDonnell and his administration does.


A Return to a Clean Energy Policy Agenda

Even though President Obama has made some courageous moves on the environmental front (most notably, his decision to delay the decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline), clean energy has seemingly taken a back seat on the president's agenda as election time moves closer to the present. With 80% of the U.S.'s energy consumption coming from fossil fuels, the U.S. stands poised to help reduce the international community's carbon footprint with more aggressive moves towards clean energy. With an increasing worldwide energy demand, it has become more important than ever to move away from fossil fuel sources of energy towards cleaner forms.

Unfortunately, clean energy is not an issue that gets many politicians cookie points. President Obama will continue to hammer away at themes of economic growth, job creation, and the like, giving little attention to clean energy until the next presidential election has passed. If this moves President Obama back into the White House for another four year term, one could argue that ignoring clean energy for the moment is an appropriate political route to take. What's the alternative, Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich in the White House?  

Want to Win in November? Support Clean Energy.

2009 Solar DecathlonA must-read piece today from Grist's David Roberts on why clean energy is a huge political winner:
With the Wall Street Journal editorial page beating its chest, Politico making sweet, sweet love to the Solyndra non-scandal, and the Chamber of Commerce dumping money into attack ads, Democrats have gotten unduly spooked. They've started believing John Boehner's trash talk, that energy is a wedge to divide unions from greens.

It's an empty threat. The fact is, overwhelming majorities of Americans - across party, age, and regional lines - support clean, modern energy. A poll conducted by ORC International in November found that 77 percent of Americans, including 65 percent of Republicans, believe that "the U.S. needs to be a clean energy technology leader and it should invest in the research and domestic manufacturing of wind, solar, and energy efficiency technologies." Last February, a Gallup poll offered a list of actions Congress might take. The most popular option, with an incredible 83 percent support, was "an energy bill that provides incentives for using solar and other alternative energy resources." [...]

Clean energy isolates the Republican base from the broad mass of American opinion and, in particular, from swing-state independents. It's a wedge issue and an electoral winner for Democrats if they can quit playing defense and go on the attack. The appropriate response to threats from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a well-administered ass kicking.

Next time you hear a Democrat waffling on support for clean energy, kick them in the shins. I am not making this up: Some focus group testing this week showed clean energy is almost as popular with swing voters as killing Osama bin Laden (although who gives killing the mastermind of 9/11 a B minus?). Plus, we all know how much voters love candidates apologizing for what they believe in.

Dominion’s Energy Tyranny: Where’s the Outrage from the Tea Party &...

Virginia's 2007 energy re-regulation bill was a terrible idea from the start. It was essentially written by Dominion Virginia Power and rubber-stamped into law by the Virginia General Assembly & Gov. Tim Kaine, who showed no interest in challenging one of Virginia's top sources of money in politics.

Five years later, as Virginia Sierra Club Vice Chair Ivy Main writes in the Washington Post, Virginia taxpayers are seeing huge costs and little benefit:

Yes, the Dominion family owns some wind farms, one just across the state line in West Virginia. But we aren't getting a single electron of that energy, because Dominion sells it to other states that have much tougher standards for what counts as renewable energy. For us in Virginia, Dominion buys cheap certificates that no one else wants.

That's a great deal for Dominion. According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, $1.7 million could buy enough of these certificates to satisfy Dominion's 2010 RPS targets, qualifying the company to collect an extra $76 million over two years from its ratepayers.

Worse yet, Dominion is aggressively using its monopoly power to target any small businesses who try to sell clean energy to customers in Virginia:

VA Sierra Club & CCAN protest Dominion’s crusade against clean energy...

Cross-posted from Article XI.

On a windy but otherwise nice Wednesday afternoon, the VA Sierra Club, in conjunction with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) and volunteers, met at the front of Dominion VA Power's headquarters in Richmond to protest its efforts to kill clean energy in VA.

After stipulating its reasons for protesting in front of Dominion's Richmond headquarters, the groups marched to the VA State Corporation Commission to deliver over 2,500 signed petitions that made clear the demand for clean energy in Virginia.

But for Virginians who want clean energy to make a considerable dent in VA energy landscape, the road to that goal won't be an easy one. Dominion has made it clear through its actions that it is willing to spend more money promoting its green intentions (i.e. marketing) than actually implementing clean sources of energy that Virginian's can use.

Dominion VA Power is not above the economic laws of supply and demand. The supply of clean energy technologies is readily available as well as the demand for these technologies in VA. If Dominion does not get on board with the demands of Virginians, Dominion will not only lose the good-faith of its customers (even more than it already has), it will eventually lose out on the opportunity to take advantage of the "green wave" that will soon overtake America's "energy portfolio."  

Navy Testing Cool New Compact Solar Energy System at Virginia’s Fort...

061029-N-4515N-006It's a story we're hearing more and more often - the military is increasingly turning to renewable energy solutions because they simply work better than dirty energy sources. Testing is underway on the latest innovation at Virginia's Fort Story:
The Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 2 in Virginia has been testing five prototype lightweight field power kits that include solar cells as a key component. The kits replace fifty pounds of equipment with a compact system that weighs only about nine pounds.

The heart of the kit is a one-pound device called a Soldier Power Manager. The Power Manager functions like a smart micro-mini-grid. In contrast to a portable generator that runs only on diesel fuel, the Power Manager can receive energy from various sources including solar panels and fuel cells. It recharges other devices by cable attachments, eliminating the need for individual battery chargers.

The idea is just one of several developed thanks to suggestions given to the Office of Naval Research's TechSolutions program:
Though the concept is basically the same as an old fashioned employee suggestion box, a single request can have a profound effect on operations. In one recent example, TechSolutions has been testing high efficiency LED bunk lights in response to a sailor's complaint about noisy, outdated fluorescent fixtures. Aside from improving readiness and health the new lighting system has already yielded significant savings in energy, maintenance, storage and disposal logistics, and it may soon go fleetwide.
For the military, clean energy isn't about politics - it's about saving lives with fewer fuel convoys & more mobile soldiers. And as nice added benefits, clean energy also saves money and cuts the oil dependence & carbon pollution that threaten our national security.

200 activists gather to help bring offshore wind energy to Virginia

From our good friends at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
Hundreds Gather at First Grassroots Offshore Wind Energy Conference in Virginia; Call on Dominion & Governor McDonnell to Bring Offshore Wind Energy to the Commonwealth

Participants include business leaders, environmentalists and political leaders

RICHMOND - Nearly two hundred notable leaders and grassroots activists from across Virginia gathered in Richmond Saturday to promote new jobs and clean energy at the commonwealth's first citizens' conference on offshore wind power-Energize Virginia. Political leaders and environmentalists sat next to investment partners with Google Inc. to make the case for offshore wind energy, ending with a colorful march to the steps of the State Capitol.

"In a stalled economy, few industries have the potential to bring more jobs to the commonwealth than the renewable offshore wind industry," said Terry McAuliffe, clean energy advocate and Chairman of GreenTech Automotive Corp. "Offshore wind relies on American ingenuity and innovation to provide the clean, domestically-produced energy we need, while offering an opportunity to provide thousands of quality jobs for Virginians."


Jim Webb: Whose side are you on?

Cross posted from ArticleXI

For more than a year, the environmental community has been asking Senator Jim Webb, “whose side are you on,” when it comes to addressing carbon pollution.  Time and again, he has forced us to ask this question as he has flirted with different efforts to strip EPA authority when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  

Here’s the quick background:  

In April 2007, the Supreme Court determined that greenhouse gases are air pollutants subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. The Court authorized the EPA to determine whether emission of greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health.  This process began under the Bush Administration, and was concluded under the Obama Administration when in the spring of 2009 EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the science supported a link between increased greenhouse gas emissions and threats to public health as a result of the increased air pollution.  

Tom Perriello: “It’s Crazy” Not to Have a National Energy Strategy

Courtesy of virginia5rawfootage, here's Tom Perriello speaking at a town hall meeting in Martinsville last week.
I continue to believe that every day we lack a national energy strategy, we are just gift wrapping jobs to China and India. It's crazy. I honestly believe this is the clearest example of jobs for the next 25 to 30 years...Every day that we wait to have a national energy strategy, not only do we reinforce Chavez and Ahmedinejad and petrodictators around the world that hate this country, but we destroy our competitive advantage.
Tom Perriello clearly "gets it" on clean energy, the economy, and national security. Robert Hurt clearly does not. On this crucial issue alone, I'd argue that people should support Perriello. More broadly, what's clear from listening to both Perriello and Hurt is the wild disparity in thoughtfulness and honesty between the two candidates. Listen to Hurt for a minute or two, and your brain will start "hurt"-ing from all the nonsensical, discredited right-wing talking points ("supply side," "Nancy Pelosi," blah blah blah) you'll get. In stark contrast, what you get with Tom Perriello is a serious, sober analysis of where we're at, where we need to go, and how we can best get there. You also get political courage - the ability to do what's right even if it's politically difficult, whereas with Robert Hurt you get the exact opposite - pandering, finger-in-the-wind demagoguery.  Why is this race even close?