SELC urges Dominion, AEP to lower CO2 in Virginia resource plans

Today, Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power will file their 2015 Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.  These plans chart the power companies’ paths over the next fifteen years, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) said July 1.

The IRPs will indicate the commitment of these utilities to meeting the pollution reduction goals of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan—the landmark, federal proposal to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants that is linked to climate change and rising sea levels.

Based on past plans filed by the power companies, Virginia is already 79% of the way to meeting its Clean Power Plan target for 2030. Our organizations will be reviewing today’s updated plans to see how Dominion and Appalachian Power intend to achieve the final 21% of Virginia’s Clean Power Plan goal.

Conservation groups are calling on the power companies to address the following three issues in the Integrated Resource Plans:

•CARBON POLLUTION: Given pending regulations on carbon pollution over the next fifteen years, it is vital that power companies disclose their total, fleet-wide carbon emissions as of today and provide projections of total, fleet-wide emissions for 2030.  It is not enough to simply show a decrease in the rate of carbon emissions. Rather, communities and customers have a right to see actual, real-world reductions in total tons of carbon pollution emitted.

•ENERGY EFFICIENCY:  Power companies need to provide customers with far more options to participate in energy efficiency programs, which will save money and cut pollution. Governor McAuliffe has adopted a goal of reducing energy consumption by 10% by 2020—but Dominion and Appalachian Power remain far off the pace necessary to achieve that target.

•RENEWABLE ENERGY:  Power companies need to make significant, utility-scale investments in offshore wind and solar energy, while also opening up markets to allow customers to install their own solar-generating resources on their private property. Dominion has stated that building a new 20-megawatt solar farm in Remington, Virginia is beneficial for customers because it is cheaper than market purchases off of a grid that consists primarily of coal and natural gas. Yet all renewable resources in Dominion’s territory amount to just 2% of the company’s energy mix. Dominion’s Remington project equates to just one-tenth of 1% of Dominion’s 17,500-megawatt generation fleet.