Ricky Junquera, firstname.lastname@example.org
VIRGINIA - On Friday, The Sierra Club submitted expert testimony from Dr. Mark Little in Dominion Energy’s request to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval and certification of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project. The University of Virginia Environmental Law and Community Engagement Clinic is representing the Sierra Club.
The CVOW project, which involves 176 wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach - provides a massive amount of renewable energy that allows Virginia to do its part to confront the climate crisis. Sierra Club generally supports Dominion’s application before the SCC. But equally important, this project can also provide tremendous job and wealth-building opportunities statewide. Dominion must ensure that the clean energy from CVOW is provided in a way that is equitable and beneficial to all Virginians.
Under the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Dominion’s CVOW application is required to submit an economic development plan. Sierra Club's expert testimony highlights the key things Dominion must do in order to meet the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) targets as outlined in the law
Dr. Little recommends the following revisions to the plan:
articulate a clear vision on DEI;
identify/track specific metrics, and set targets for achieving those metrics;
incorporate structural changes to how personnel are assigned responsibility for DEI initiatives and report on DEI progress;
prepare to address DEI barriers in the workforce and supply chain with Original Equipment Manufacturers, Tier I suppliers, and others; and
address barriers on access to capital for local-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and businesses in historically economically disadvantaged communities.
In response to the expert testimony filing, Eileen Woll, Offshore Energy Program Director with the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter released the following statement:
“Dominion and Virginia can continue to lead the nation in equitable development of offshore wind. Articulating a clear vision of what equitable offshore wind development looks like and then exacting that vision to specific hiring metrics would be precedent-setting and would provide an exemplary model for the rest of the United States on how offshore wind is done right.”
“To offset costs ultimately born on ratepayers for the numerous offshore wind projects along the East Coast, mechanisms must be set in place ensuring there are real, tangible benefits returning to ratepayers from these projects. The federal government is just beginning to insert lease stipulations on developers involving supply chain creation and workforce development in underserved communities especially, but their goals so far are vague. A revised Dominion plan with specifics metrics and deliverables would thus provide a valuable model.”
Statement of Cale Jaffe, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law and Community Engagement Clinic at the University of Virginia:
“Students and faculty in our community-engaged clinic at the University of Virginia have been thrilled to be working with the Sierra Club on this critically important, clean-energy and environmental justice project. We’ve also been heartened by our collaboration with Dr. Mark Little, co-founder and executive director of CREATE, a multi-state economic development center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.”
Dr. Little states in his pre-filed testimony:
“Climate change threatens coastal communities including the broader Hampton Roads region, and disproportionately impacts communities of color and people with fewer economic resources. By clearly connecting these overlapping issues in a comprehensive sustainability vision for the CVOW Project, Dominion has an opportunity to be the loadstar for the offshore wind industry and for American energy production more broadly.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of 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.