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Richmond Times-Dispatch (Opinion): Harrison Godfrey, Matthew Cox: Let's Turn the Page on Energy in Virginia

Posted by Harrison Godfrey and Matthew Cox on Oct 28, 2019

Richmond Times-Dispatch published a co-authored opinion piece by Virginia AEE's Harrison Godfrey and The Greenlink Group's Matthew Cox detailing how the Commonwealth could meet Gov. Northam's 100% clean energy goal while saving customers money and creating positive economic impact. Read excerpts below and the entire Richmond Times-Dispatch piece here. 

Change versus more of the same. It is the fundamental question underlying every election. This November, as Virginians go to the polls, it is more true than ever. The delegates and senators who gather in Richmond in January will have the opportunity to turn the page on a variety of policies. We urge them to start with Virginia’s energy policies, where the benefits of change and the costs of staying the same are clear.

Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam signed an executive order establishing a goal of a 100% clean electricity for Virginia by 2050. Spurred by this order, Virginia Advanced Energy Economy, Greenlink and GridLab produced “Virginia’s Energy Transition.” This report sought to answer two questions: Could our commonwealth make the transition to a 100% carbon-free electricity? If so, what are the benefits and tradeoffs of doing so?

To answer these questions, we employed software like what the utilities use to model Virginia’s electricity grid. We supplied this model with conservative forecasts and datasets, such as those from the U.S. Department of Energy, to chart how demand for electricity and the cost of supplying that power are likely to change in Virginia over the next 30 years.

We used the utilities’ own integrated resource plans, which spell out how Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power intend to build new power plants and update the grid, to develop a “Business as Usual” (BAU) baseline. This BAU analysis let us forecast average residential bills, variations in employment and anticipated emissions from our grid over the next 30 years if Virginia’s energy policy remains the same. From there, we asked the model to evaluate whether and how Virginia could fully decarbonize its grid. That would mean no longer drawing electricity from coal, oil or natural gas-fired facilities inside or outside our borders...

Note this piece appeared in the Oct. 29 print edition. Read the entire Richmond Times-Dispatch piece online here.

Topics: AEE In The News