Virginia Mercury Publishes Articles on VA Clean Energy Transition This Week

by admin on December 1, 2020

Excellent coverage of energy & environment DGN

Dear Readers in Virginia (and West Virginia):

A five-person newsroom can’t be all things to all readers. So, from the beginning, the Virginia Mercury had to develop a tighter focus to help us stand out from the crowd and bring you the stories that were falling through the cracks in state government, policy and politics.

A key coverage area for us since we launched in 2018 has been energy policy, which has often been the subject of the fiercest, most complex and heavily lobbied legislative battles at the General Assembly over the past few years.

In that vein, today we publish the first in a weeklong series by Sarah Vogelsong — Virginia’s Clean Energy Transition — that takes you through the complexities of the dramatic shift ushered in earlier this year by the Virginia Clean Economy Act and other legislation that will phase out use of fossil fuels for electric generation in the commonwealth over the next three decades. You won’t find anything of its scope and breadth on the topic elsewhere.

Which reminds me: Today is Giving Tuesday. As a nonprofit newsroom, reader contributions allow us to bring you more of the work you’ve come to expect from us — from helping compensate our columnists and freelance contributors to footing hefty bills as we fight Freedom of Information Act battles.

If you’re already a Mercury donor, thanks so much for your support. If you’re not, and find value in what we do, we hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible donation here. As always, thanks for reading the Mercury.

— Robert Zullo, editor

OUR STORIESVirginia’s Clean Energy Transition: A special series by the Virginia Mercury

“The single largest shift in energy policy as it relates to the electricity sector that’s ever been achieved in any state.” — Karla Loeb, Sigora Solar policy chief and Solar Energy Industries Association board member.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivy Main December 1, 2020 at 4:50 am


How a Biden presidency will help Virginia’s energy transition | Power for the People VA, Ivy Main, November 16, 2020

Immediately following the 2016 election of Donald Trump, I wrote a column titled “Why Trump won’t stop the clean energy revolution.”

If you were to read it now, you would yawn. What seemed bold back then now feels like forecasting the inevitable. Of course coal has not come back. Of course wind and solar are cheaper now than fossil fuels. Of course people agree a zero-carbon future is achievable.

Still, few of us could have predicted how far off course Trump would try to take us. Withdrawing from the Paris climate accord was the least of it. The Washington Post tallied more than 125 rollbacks of environmental regulations and policies over the past four years. Trump’s more flamboyant acts of perfidy distracted attention away from his sustained attack, not just on climate science, but on the laws protecting America’s lands, air and water.

Really, we should be grateful Trump staffed his administration with grifters and sycophants who repeatedly bungled the details and opened their decisions to legal challenge. Incompetence is underrated. Skilled managers would have done much more damage.

Yet the past four years have also pushed us closer to the brink of climate chaos and the collapse of ecosystems. We wasted time we did not have.

As president, Joe Biden will be able to undo most of the environmental rollbacks with new executive orders and agency actions. Biden has also promised a long list of new initiatives, though many of them would require Democratic control of the US Senate.

….. more ……. see link below ……>>>


Sarah Vogelsong December 20, 2020 at 3:02 pm

Despite setbacks for new natural gas projects, companies push forward with plans

From Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury, December 16, 2020

When the State Corporation Commission on Dec. 1 rejected a proposal by Virginia Natural Gas to expand its pipeline infrastructure largely for a new power plant planned for Charles City County, opponents celebrated the decision as a critical blow to expansion of the fossil fuel in Virginia.

“The residents can rest easy for a while and celebrate that there will be no fracked gas piped into our community,” said Wanda Roberts of the grassroots group Concerned Citizens of Charles City County in a statement. Northern Virginia organizer Tiziana Bottino of the social and environmental justice group Mothers Out Front similarly wrote that “moms and concerned residents alike can breathe a sigh of relief,” while Jolene Mafnas of climate group Food and Water Action said the decision was “a big victory for climate justice.”

But in the two weeks since the ruling, both Michigan-based NOVI Energy, which is developing the C4GT plant in Charles City County, and Virginia Natural Gas have forged ahead with plans to add new natural gas infrastructure.

NOVI Energy signaled that despite the failure of its plan to obtain gas from the utility for C4GT, it hasn’t given up its intention to build the facility: On the day its construction permit from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality was set to expire, the company hastily poured concrete for a fire pump house and installed silt fencing to avoid losing its permit.

Earlier this week, Virginia Natural Gas also filed an application for a smaller pipeline expansion, citing demand from Columbia Gas of Virginia and Dominion Energy subsidiary Virginia Power Services Energy, as well as reliability concerns. The new project, estimated to cost $205 million, would add almost 10 miles of pipeline and an additional compressor station in Prince William County to the utility’s footprint.

“In order to perform its legal duty to furnish adequate and reliable service, the company must, from time to time, update and expand its gas delivery capabilities through additional facilities to meet customer demand and to serve the public interest of the commonwealth,” the company wrote in its application.

See the balance of the Article below, and support the fine reporting of the Virginia Mercury —


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: