Dominion Energy’s Policies Twist This Way and That

by S. Tom Bond on May 26, 2019

From Dominion Energy Virginia’s 2018 Integrated Resource Plan

Lies, damn lies, and advertising: Dominion goes for the green …

From an Essay by Ivy Main, Power for the People VA, May 22, 2019

Recently I criticized a Dominion Energy advertisement that boasted, misleadingly and inaccurately, about the company’s investments in solar energy.

By contrast, the company’s investments in greenwashing are transparent and heartfelt. Dominion has suffered through several bad months here in Virginia and would very much like to change the conversation.

Indeed, the company’s problems keep mounting. In the course of just two days this month, SCC commissioners lit into the company for telling Wall Street one thing and regulators another; the corporate customers behind Virginia’s data center boom filed a letter saying they want no part of Dominion’s fracked-gas build-out; and a coalition of libertarian, environmental and social justice groups called for a breakup of Dominion’s monopoly.

Fortunately, Dominion’s PR offensive was only just ramping up. A full-page newspaper ad, predictably light on detail, promises the company will cut its climate-heating methane emissions in half. That would be a nice trick from the company whose Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all Virginia’s power plants put together.

In case you doubt the company’s sincerity, Dominion just joined a corporate coalition calling for a price on carbon. This must have been in the works about the same time Dominion was criticizing Virginia’s proposed entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which actually puts a price on carbon.

Hey, The Washington Post fell for it. Greenwashing works.

And that brings us to the (literally) incredible claim that recently appeared in Dominion Energy’s Twitter feed: “The future of our planet depends on clean energy, which is why more than 85% of our generation comes from clean energy sources such as solar.”

Let us pause for a moment to reflect that this tweet comes from a company whose solar generation amounts to a rounding error.

Dominion Energy Virginia’s most recent Integrated Resource Plan includes a handy pie chart revealing what is actually in its energy mix:

Nuclear: 33% — Natural gas: 32% — Coal: 18% —
Purchased (wholesale) power: 10% (that’s coal and gas)
Non-Utility Generation (purchased under contract): 5% (more coal)
Renewable: 2% (almost all hydro and biomass, plus a smidgen of solar) and Oil: 0%

Now, it is true that Dominion Energy the holding company owns more generation than Dominion Energy Virginia the electric utility. For one thing, it just bought another utility in South Carolina. According to the information Dominion provided to investors in March, its South Carolina generation looks like this:

Natural gas: 39% — Coal: 36% — Nuclear: 21% — Hydro: 3%

Nobody looking at these figures could find a basis in reality for a claim of 85% clean energy. It is so preposterous that I just have to ask: Why only 85%?

I mean, seriously, if you have traveled this far into the realm of fantasy, why not claim 100%? Or heck, with a nod to Spinal Tap, why not 110%? Clearly the people making this stuff up are rank amateurs.

All of which is to say: come on, Dominion, you can do better.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Glen Besa October 25, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Hi folks ………… …… Date: October 25, 2019

At the heart of the Ukraine scandal is fracked gas. And with the presidential election approaching, the the gas industry is stepping up its greenwashing with TV ads and all manner of “good news” stories. For example, check out this article in the Richmond Times Dispatch this morning:

Virginia Natural Gas to reduce methane emissions from wells to customers

— Glen Besa, Richmond, VA


Mary Wildfire October 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm

More propaganda from the Fracked Gas Industry

Well, it IS a good thing if they put genuine effort into reducing emissions. But …..

>>> They can’t be trusted when they report results

>>> Even if they are successful, they aren’t going to get emissions low enough

>>> There is a long list of other problems with gas, from the drilling and fracking to the problems with pipelines and compressor stations

>>> The reality is that most of the gas they want to run through these pipelines isn’t destined for Virginia customers—it’s headed to overseas markets

>>> Also, the gas is displacing not so much dirtier coal as cleaner renewables, which could be providing MORE jobs

>>> And, prolonging dependence on gas could well take us past the point where our decaying global civilization will be capable of building a renewable infrastructure, thus condemning our descendants to the same energy poverty as our ancestors (i.e. candles and horses, not solar panels and LED lights)

>>> As well as the ravages of climate change and other ecological devastation.

Mary Wildfire, Roane County, WV


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