Thursday, December 13, 2007

Action Needed: Help Stop the Wise County Coal Power Plant!

The Blacksburg Town Council last night passed a resolution opposing the proposed coal-fired power plant Dominion Virginia Power wants to build in Wise County. Councils in Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Arlington are expected to vote on similar resolutions in the next few days.

But time is running out for you to have your say in the matter. The Virginia State Corporation Commission's (SCC) public comment period expires tomorrow night (Dec. 14) on both the Wise County power plant proposal and Dominion's request to build a huge new transmission line through Virginia. Tell the SCC right now to say no to both!

You can comment on the Wise County plant through the Chesapeake Climate Action Network's website. CCAN provides talking points for you, however you're also welcome to lift from my letter to the SCC:
I'm writing today to comment on case number PUE-2007-00066. I strongly urge you to deny Dominion Virginia Power's request to build a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County on both economic and environmental grounds.

As a Dominion ratepayer, I don't want them investing $1.6 billion in coal at a time when Congress is considering carbon constraint legislation, including one bill sponsored by our very own Sen. John Warner, that would make it much more expensive to burn fossil fuels. If we're locked into coal, my bill is going to go up.

In addition, Virginia is last in the nation in spending on efficiency and conservation. If we were spending wisely, we'd be investing in improving our usage, not expanding our capacity. And when we do need new facilities, we must look to clean, renewable energy.

The environmental impacts of the proposed plant are nothing short of staggering. At a time when scientists say we need to cut global carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming, this plant would annually spew 5.4 million tons of new carbon dioxide emissions into the air. While Dominion is holding out hope for a future technological breakthrough on capturing and storing carbon, even then the cost of doing so may exceed $100 million each year.

The list of environmental impacts goes on and on. The plant would also emit more than 12,500 annually of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, the latter a cause of serious breathing problems for people with respiratory illnesses. The forest manager for North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest says the plant's 3,300 tons per year in sulfur dioxide emissions would violate the clean air act, which gives special protections to the adjacent 12,000-acre Linville Gorge Wilderness.

The proposed Wise County coal-fired power plant would be an economic and environmental disaster for the state of Virginia. I urge you to do everything in your power to block it.
As for the transmission line, you can submit comment quickly and easily through Virginia's Commitment. Please take the time right now to act on these critical issues!


Freddie L Sirmans, Sr. said...

This is a very, very interesting blog. Happy holidays.

Anonymous said...

Miles, I don't like coal plants, I don't like strip mines tearing down the mountain wilderness, and I certainly don't want new transmission lines if there are other alternatives.

If not this coal plant and new transmission, whilest other older plants are being shut down in our state and power is being imported to the north, then would you please consider supporting new nuclear reactors at the North Anna plant and national action plan for an energy efficiency?

Neither would require new transmission nor new land (correct me if I am wrong about the North Anna site but I believe the land is already acquired.)

The counties of Arlington, Loudoun & Fairfax, and the city of Alex., have no such energy effiency initiative tabled for discussion nor passed. For some reason, Democrats in Northern Va believe energy efficiency isn't worth implementing.

If not nuclear, what other source can be implemented here in our state, to supply Virginia's demand for new electricty?

The Green Miles said...

The Department of Energy says, "Virginia has wind resources consistent with utility-scale production." Virginia has vast wind energy potential as well as tidal power potential. We've chosen not to tap into it, instead blowing up mountains to get at the coal underneath. Where's your evidence that renewables aren't "viable"?

Why do you presume renewables are risky while coal and nuclear are the safe bet? When Congress passes carbon cap-and-trade legislation making it much more expensive to burn fossil fuels, we're going to be locked into coal. And while I like that it's low-carbon, if nuclear was so risk-free, they wouldn't need to beg taxpayers for billions in loan guarantees.

Virginia ranks dead last among states in utility investments in energy efficiency. This means we have affordable energy-efficiency resources right now in our existing infrastructure. With these energy resources, it is likely that this coal plant would never be needed.

Anonymous said...

Miles its not that I don't like wind or alternative energy, but the one thing it seems that alot of folks fail to realize, when it comes to powering the grid, reliablity, cost, and footprint still matter.

We urbanites are the ones demanding all this electricity. The rural folks are the one's who have to foot the "real" bill. If south-side VA farmers don't mind growing crops for biomass generation, neither do I. If the bay-side residents don't mind countless wind turbines in a natural treasure like the Chesapeake Bay, then neither do I. But something tells me, just like coal or a nuke plant, no one wants any sort of power infrastructure (clean nor dirty), in their backyard.

Energy efficiency reduces consumption.

Energy efficiency means less new generation and transmission.

Energy efficiency leaves no footprint.

Energy efficiency can literally save us money.

Energy efficiency has no GHG emmissions.

Energy efficiency is faster to implement, therefore,

Energy efficiency can affect climate change quicker.

Yes, our state is dead last in terms of conservations. Blame Dominion Power? Blame money to politicans? Who cares where the blame lies, I for one have been repeatedly raising this issue as the #1 method to address a slew of problems, combined or separetely, but all I have read here and on Green Miles (with the exception of one AMI post) is wind and solar/pv.


Hot off the press....

The Viriginia State utility board's (aka the SCC) recommendation to the Governor and the Viriginia State Assembly

"...the picture of demand response (DR) in Virginia during the past three decades is one of missed opportunities. Although numerous states initiated aggressive and effective demand response programs in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Virginia continues to lag far behind.

However, the need for action is more pressing now than ever. The multiple challenges of rapidly escalating fuel and electricity prices, global climate change, deteriorating electric reliability in the mid-Atlantic region, and energy security risks provide a clarion call for prompt action.

Moreover, new opportunities are now available to harness the potential for reductions in peak demand. These new opportunities are the result of: (1) development of new policies in the PJM90 market requiring the treatment of demand response on a par with supply-side options; (2) advances in telecommunications that allow for real-time communication among wholesale electric suppliers, retail suppliers, and customers; and (3) improvements in the affordability and functionality of demand response technology.

It is essential for the SCC to take advantage of new legislative authority granted in 2007 (as well as preexisting legislation enacted in 1976 requiring conservation of capital and energy resources) to meet these pressing needs and harness the new opportunities. The time is now to implement critical regulatory reforms that will spur reductions in peak load demand. The 2007 legislation provides another window of opportunity for action in the Commonwealth of Virginia to promote demand side management. Virginia ratepayers and the State's economy and environment will suffer if this opportunity is squandered."


Also last week the latest 2007 federal report from the NAPEE was issued.


I just wish when it comes to climate change, new energy, energy security, etc., the first thing out of the mouths of neo-green and liberal folks is energy efficiency.

Who is going to complain that energy efficiency is blocking their beautiful view? Who's going to complain that energy efficiency is lowering their electricity bill. Who's going to get upset that energy efficiency is reducing C02. Get the picture?

Wind turbines, solar/pv etc, are behind energy efficiency, especially since EE requires less federal funds and incentives. See California state law.

More locally, in our state, three of the highest if not the top three counties with the greatest consumption of electricity, Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax, haven't done anything about initiating energy efficiency measures on county owned properties and facilities.

Come on, aren't most of the officials elected in those counties Democrats?

As for Wise Co., of course its a tragedy. But given the fact of the coming infrastructure changes I noted previously to you, and the # of windmills the Chesapeake Bay would have to be sited with, when do you think Virginia voters will be ready to elect a governor who would push something like this through? Certainly the current governor isn't.

Redistributing wealth and influence by subplanting big energy isn't a pre-requisite of climate change

Arlington Pax Energy said...


As a matter of fact, Arlington is actively improving the efficiency of its facilities, with much more on the way. We have a new campaign, Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions, that is dedicated to reducing our greenhouse gas footprint and job #1 is reducing consumption through greater efficiency. We have new funding to pursue retrofits through capital and operational improvements, and we're also pursuing an energy savings performance contract to finance work in a couple large facilities.
Please see and its sub-pages for more details.
We are intent on leading by example and walking the walk.

Anonymous said...

you are correct, Arlington has done alot more than I knew, and more than mine. To correct the point I was making about Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun actually, was in reference to energy curtailment, aka demand response, load management, or demand-side management.

Do you know if an energy curtailment program, either self-adminstered or hired by an outsider provider is in place?

I did not see the same in the explanation the website provided with regards to what they stated they have accomplished to date.

If you have a connection with that county program, you should inquiry about it. If none exist, ask your local official to sponsor a resolution to do it. The $ savings is significant, and the kilowatts the county can reduce from its energy bill would be something to brag about.

Curtailment specialists are Comverge, EnerNoc, Energy Curtailment Specialist. All have web presents. Other larger companies involved are GE, IBM, Itron, ESCO and a few others. DOE, the state of VA, and only a few VA counties have implimented such an initiative. No real costs and savings are immeidate, plus 100% security is maintain in terms of uninterrupted electricity on demand. No burden, no sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

Dominion is truly evil. Their power lines run thru our property, and there is an easement for this. In Feb of 2008 we had an ice storm and one of the trees fell on their power lines. They came out and cut the tree down, and left it in our yard. It has been 3 months and they still have not cleaned it up. I called them and they told me that it's my problem. It will cost $1800 to have this tree removed. Thanks Dominion.

Last month I was late making a payment to them, I paid this month for both months, and when I got the new bill WHICH HAS a ZERO FORWARD BALANCE, they charged me $160 deposit for not paying on time. I do not have a choice in whether I want to pay it or not. Either I pay or they turn off my power. These people are EVIL!!! They do not give a damn about their customers. There is no mechanism in place for me to do anything about their misconduct, and Dominion goes on raping its customers like the mob. I will gladly help in any way I can to cause these people damage and bring them down.