Pablo Willis, email@example.com
Richmond, VA -- Last night, Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) not only rejected Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) that would cost consumers millions of dollars and needlessly further reliance on dirty and uneconomic fossil fuel infrastructure but is requiring Dominion to address the environmental justice impacts of its various resource plans. The IRP is a 15-year plan projecting future energy demand, costs, and how Dominion proposes to meet customer’s energy needs and the Commonwealth’s clean energy requirements.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, Appalachian Voices, SCC Staff, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, Glen Besa, Office of Attorney General, and the Sierra Club opposed Dominion’s IRP because the utility failed to deliver a realistic plan that is both compliant with the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) and comes at the lowest cost to consumers. During the hearing, Sierra Club’s witness, Rachel Wilson, noted that if Dominion did not force resources into its model the IRP would be $3.3 billion dollars cheaper over the next 15 years.
Each of the five plans proposed in Dominion’s IRP called for new short-term fracked gas infrastructure, which would have forced consumers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for new gas infrastructure that the utility acknowledges would only operate 1% of the time. Such infrastructure would also soon be outdated due to the 100% carbon-free by 2045 standard established in the VCEA. Additionally, the utility proposed to keep its dirty uneconomic coal facility and biomass plant in Wise County online even though it would cost consumers over $472 million over the next 10 years alone. Ultimately, the commission found the Sierra Club's arguments persuasive, rejecting the IRP and declaring it not reasonable and not in the public interest.
The ruling mandates that Dominion submit an IRP that includes a plan that is the least costly to the consumer and complies with the carbon reduction targets. Critically, the Commission's ruling calls on the utility to address the environmental justice impact future dirty fuel retirements could have on nearby communities. Lastly, Dominion Energy will have to submit modeling that includes the most up to date information on affordable clean energy and uneconomic fossil fuels.
Mary-Stuart Torbeck, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign Campaign Representative, released the following statement:
“We applaud the State Corporation Commission for rejecting Dominion Power’s massively expensive plan that’s out of step with Virginia’s clean energy laws. Dominion must provide Virginians with a plan that is in line with Virginia’s clean energy future and is affordable for families and businesses. In the future, Dominion must provide a realistic blueprint that accurately accounts for and takes advantage of readily available affordable clean energy resources rather than needlessly constructing costly short-term fossil fuel infrastructure that will cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. Virginia's utility bills are among the highest in the country and last night's ruling is a reminder that our government can stand up for families and businesses. The General Assembly should do the same by passing HB 2330, which provides some relief to the Commonwealth's most overburdened energy ratepayers.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.