Author

Ivy Main

Ivy Main

Ivy Main is a lawyer and a longtime volunteer with the Sierra Club's Virginia chapter. A former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employee, she is currently the Sierra Club's renewable energy chairperson. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of any organization.

COMMENTARY

Shared solar launches in Virginia but still faces an uphill battle

By: - November 29, 2022

After years of wrangling, Virginia finally allows certain customers of Dominion Energy Virginia to buy solar energy from independent providers of shared solar, also known as community solar. Don’t applaud yet, though. Dominion has used the rulemaking process and its control over project interconnection to create hurdles for shared solar that lawmakers never anticipated. High […]

COMMENTARY

Washington Gas loves its customers too much for their own good

By: - October 28, 2022

Washington Gas has been emailing its Virginia customers this month to offer them rebates if they buy new gas appliances, including home heating equipment (up to $700) and water heaters (up to $400). What the message doesn’t say is that this is a terrible deal. Customers will be able to get far bigger incentives if […]

COMMENTARY

You call that an energy plan?

By: - October 18, 2022

Governor Glenn Youngkin issued a press release on October 3 presenting what he says is his energy plan. Accompanying the press release was 26 pages labeled “2022 Virginia Energy Plan,” but that can’t be what he’s referring to. I mean, the Virginia Code is pretty specific about what makes up an energy plan, and this […]

COMMENTARY

Will Governor Youngkin’s energy plan look anything like what the law requires?

By: - September 23, 2022

What happens when state law requires an anti-clean energy governor to draw up a plan for a zero-carbon energy economy? We’re about to find out. Virginia gives a new governor until Oct. 1 of his first year in office to write a plan “identifying actions over a 10-year period consistent with the goal of the […]

COMMENTARY

A tale of two realities

By: - September 7, 2022

It was the best of summers, it was the worst of summers. It was the summer the United Nations declared a healthy environment a universal human right, and a summer that shattered heat records across the globe. The U.S. enacted a historic climate bill not long after the Supreme Court struck down the Environmental Protection […]

COMMENTARY

Buckle up, folks: this federal climate bill is going to supercharge Virginia’s energy transition

By: - August 9, 2022

On Sunday the U.S. Senate passed the historic climate legislation package hammered out between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. The House is expected to follow suit this week, giving President Joe Biden a huge win on one of his administration’s priorities and finally making good on his pledge to […]

COMMENTARY

Your electric bills are skyrocketing. Blame our failure to invest in renewable energy.

By: - July 19, 2022

Fossil fuel prices are higher everywhere, and the effect is hitting electric bills as well as prices at the gas pump. Utilities that generate power from natural gas and coal face fuel costs two or three times as high as they were just a couple of years ago —and those costs are passed on to […]

COMMENTARY

Getting gas out of buildings is critical for climate action, but the recipe isn’t easy

By: - July 7, 2022

I grew up with brothers, so I knew from an early age that the surest way to make friends with guys was to feed them homemade cookies. I took this strategy with me to college, commandeering the tiny kitchenette tucked into the hallway of my coed dorm. The aroma of chocolate chip cookies hot out […]

COMMENTARY

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? Dominion Energy begins selling residential solar

By: - June 17, 2022

Dominion Energy never used to be happy about customers producing their own energy from solar. “Hostile” is more the word that springs to mind. The company has traditionally seen privately owned solar arrays as competition: The more solar panels people put on their roofs, the less electricity they buy from their utility. But Virginia has […]

COMMENTARY

West Virginia wants to raise Virginia power bills

By: - June 10, 2022

Most people are aware by now that inflation has hit the energy sector hard, with fossil fuels in particular skyrocketing in price over the past year. Dominion Energy Virginia, the state’s dominant utility, says it needs to charge residential customers an extra $14.93 per month on average to cover higher natural gas prices. Appalachian Power, […]

COMMENTARY

Not a great time to roll out Dominion’s pricey solar tariff

By: - May 16, 2022

Well, that didn’t take long. A few weeks after I wrote about rising natural gas prices, Dominion Energy Virginia asked the SCC for permission to raise the price of electricity by about $9 per month for the average residential customers, citing higher fuel costs. Virginia law allows utilities to pass through its fuel costs to […]

COMMENTARY

What new Virginia laws reveal about how the natural gas industry sees its future 

By: - April 21, 2022

Natural gas is having a moment. The war in Ukraine spotlighted Europe’s heavy reliance on Russian gas and the challenge of replacing it with new supplies from elsewhere. Suddenly the Biden administration, after talking so much about the need to get off fossil fuels, wants to expand oil and gas production and boost exports of […]