Dominion's over-reliance on dirty fossil fuels makes it the biggest polluter of climate change-inducing gases in Virginia.
While residents of coastal neighborhoods in Norfolk deal with water lapping at their front doors from global warming-induced sea level rise, and farmers all over the commonwealth worry about the weather becoming more unpredictable from climate change, Dominion executives continue to make plans to build more and more fossil fuel-burning power plants.
Despite Dominion’s ads featuring wind turbines, the electric utility generates ZERO wind power for Virginia customers. In fact, Virginia has no utility-scale wind or solar power farms. And Dominion’s 15-year energy plan shows a miniscule amount of solar power and no wind power investments.
Demand a new direction: Tell Dominion to cut its carbon pollution
As the impacts of climate change hit home, the call for clean energy in the commonwealth continues to resound louder and louder. What is Dominion doing in response? Doubling down on more massive fossil fuel-burning power plants that will only make the impacts of climate change worse. Instead of making significant investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, Dominion is investing in "green"-themed public relations campaigns like its tree-planting program, "Project Plant It!."
Virginians are demanding a new direction. Currently, the state government is looking for public input on Dominion's application for a huge new natural gas power plant in Brunswick County, VA, which would emit as much climate-disrupting pollution per year as all of the cars in the state of Maine. Dominion is also preparing its official 15-year energy plan that's due to the state on September 1st.
Through our own Earth Month 2013 initiative, "Project Planet," we're working with parents, grandparents and concerned Virginians across the state to deliver thousands of petition signatures calling on Dominion to go beyond token efforts and make a real commitment to cut its carbon pollution. Our demands of Dominion are simple, and they'd make a big difference for clean air and a stable climate: 1) Make a plan to lower your climate pollution -- and start implementing it right away; and 2) Don't build any new fossil fuel power plants, including the proposed Brunswick facility.
Dominion derails Virginia clean electricity law
While the majority of U.S. states have legally binding standards that require utilities to generate a portion of their electricity from renewable energy, Virginia lawmakers created a voluntary program. This program, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), was designed to provide utilities a financial performance incentive in exchange for meeting an increasing portion of their electricity generation with renewable energy. In reality, its weak requirements and loopholes were allowing utilities to cash in on big bonuses without making serious investments in clean energy for Virginia.
In 2012, Dominion faced persistent protests, including a week-long picket outside its Richmond offices, for receiving a $76 million customer-funded bonus under the RPS law without building any new solar or wind power projects to earn it. Dominion had claimed credit for power bought from decades-old hydro-electric dams -- many of them outside of Virginia -- and from facilities that burn trash and wood. These were not the modern, pollution-free technologies that lawmakers envisioned when they passed the law, and that would bring Virginian's the intended benefits of cleaner air and a healthier climate and economy.
Thousands of Virginians have demanded a stronger clean electricity law -- one that delivers Virginia-made wind and solar power. But during the 2013 General Assembly session, Dominion teamed up with Virginia's climate-change-denying Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to effectively dismantle the RPS law altogether. Legislation backed by Cuccinelli and Dominion, and passed as part of a larger utility regulation package, stripped away the incentives for utilities to meet their voluntary renewable energy goals, making the law effectively meaningless.
Dominion Green Power Program: Promoting renewable energy outside of Virginia.
Dominion markets a “Green Power” program to customers who want to support renewable energy with their dollars. A customer who enrolls pays extra money on a monthly basis and then Dominion buys RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) from another company. Each REC is essentially a guarantee that a certain amount of renewable energy has been placed on the power grid.
Unfortunately, less than a quarter of the energy for the program came from Virginia in 2011. Plus, almost all of that Virginia renewable energy came from burning landfill gas & wood, technologies that still emit pollution. For a typical customer, less than 1 cent per month went to pollution-free solar power in Virginia.
What’s more, Dominion advertises the program as a demonstration of its commitment to renewable energy. However, since Dominion is buying RECs from other companies, the utility doesn’t have to change its own practices. No matter how many people sign up for the program, Dominion will continue to generate the same amount of energy from fossil fuels. The utility’s 15-year plan confirms its continued commitment to outdated energy sources, leaving Virginia behind in the move toward renewable energy and its benefits.
- Sign the petition: Tell Dominion to cut its carbon pollution -- not build another massive fossil fuel plant.
- If you participate in the Green Power Program, please call 1-866-366-4357 and tell a Dominion representative that you would like to withdraw from the program. Tell them that you will re-subscribe when 100% of the money generated from the program goes to support new Virginia solar and wind power production.
- To support real renewable energy being built in Virginia, donate to the Virginia Solar Fund, which offers loans for solar projects in the commonwealth (www.bit.ly/VAsolar) or donate to Chesapeake Climate Action Network (www.chesapeakeclimate.org/donate).