Having written about Dominion Power and renewable energy on this site before, there is simply no reason to let up. Here’s the latest, including a solution for the General Assembly in the form of HB 657: Virginia’s “voluntary” renewable portfolio standard is voluntary for utilities, but it’s mandatory for ratepayers. Utilities charge citizens for the […]
Here’s the latest, including a solution for the General Assembly in the form of HB 657:
Virginia’s “voluntary” renewable portfolio standard is voluntary for utilities, but it’s mandatory for ratepayers. Utilities charge citizens for the energy they buy to meet the goals, and then they get to charge citizens again for their bonus under the law. The idea behind the law was to incentivize utilities to buy renewable energy, but utilities have treated it as an entitlement program for their shareholders and are doing the minimum possible to earn their profit.
Everyone thought the 2007 law setting up the renewable energy incentives would result in Virginia-made wind and solar energy. That hasn’t happened, and yet utilities are collecting their full bonus amounts just as if they had made a real effort.
Dominion Power ran advertisements in 2010 claiming they were building wind farms “to power Virginia’s energy future.” Those ads misled everyone into assuming they were doing just that. But they have built no wind farms in Virginia.
Dominion talks a good game about renewable energy, but the reality came out in its rate case this fall, when it had to reveal the energy sources it was using to meet Virginia’s renewable energy goals. Almost all of it consists of old conventional hydroelectric plants from dams. None of it comes from projects built after 2000, and none of it is wind or solar.
Legislators should support HB 657 (Rust), the RPS reform bill, in its current form, including the provisions for Virginia-made wind and solar energy. If the final bill does not incentivize wind and solar in Virginia, the RPS law should be repealed rather than charging ratepayers millions of dollars extra.
The Virginia-made requirement makes sure that the ratepayers who are paying for the renewable energy are getting the benefits of it. Building wind and solar energy in Virginia is important to create new jobs here for Virginia’s young people, to increase energy supply without adding air pollution, and to give Virginia a stake in these fast-growing industries.