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.

The Virginia State Capitol.. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

The General Assembly made progress on climate in 2021, but our work here is hardly done

By: - March 5, 2021

Before the start of the 2021 legislative session, I highlighted three areas where Virginia needed to make significant progress to support its climate agenda: transportation electrification, improving the energy efficiency of buildings and giving consumers greater access to renewable energy.  The General Assembly delivered on one-and-a-half out of three. If we add bonus points for […]


In the aftermath of a devastating winter storm, can we take lessons from Texas? 

By: - February 25, 2021

It is never fun to see our fellow Americans suffer, whether it’s from pandemic diseases or weather disasters. Our hearts go out to the residents of Texas who suffered without electricity and heat for days, some of them also without safe drinking water, and a few of them even dying from exposure, fires or carbon […]


At General Assembly’s halftime, consumers hold a narrow lead

By: - February 8, 2021

Virginia is, famously, a state that prides itself on being business-friendly. That makes it all the more interesting that a number of bills favoring consumers have made it through the House. Democrats have led the charge, but several of the bills earned bipartisan support even in the face of utility opposition.  This doesn’t guarantee their […]


An early look at climate and energy bills in the 2021 session

By: - January 4, 2021

Last year Virginia’s General Assembly passed more than 30 separate clean energy bills, which together put Virginia on a path to zero-carbon electricity by 2050, enabled massive investments in renewable energy, storage and energy efficiency and eased restrictions on distributed solar.  But many of the bills that passed were not perfect, and most of the […]


Do hominoids dream of solar sheep?

By: - December 11, 2020

Everybody has a favorite topic to bring up at parties when someone who knows them only vaguely and can’t remember what line of work they’re in seeks clues by asking, “So what have you been up to lately?” “Advocating for offshore wind!” I used to respond brightly, which is why I wasn’t that popular at […]


What we can expect on the environment from a Biden administration

By: - November 12, 2020

Immediately following the 2016 election of Donald Trump, I wrote a column titled “Why Trump won’t stop the clean energy revolution.” If you were to read it now, you would yawn. What seemed bold back then now feels like forecasting the inevitable. Of course coal has not come back. Of course wind and solar are […]


The SCC’s vanishing trick: turning shared solar into no solar

By: - October 30, 2020

With Virginia fully committed to the clean energy transition, you would think that by now, residents would be able to check a box on their utility bill to buy solar energy, or at least be able to call up a third-party solar provider to sell them electricity from solar. Not so. Sure, if you’re fortunate […]

Dominion Energy's downtown Richmond building. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Is a new pumped hydro project needed for energy transition, or one more Dominion boondoggle?  

By: - October 7, 2020

Back in 2017, two Republican legislators from Southwest Virginia helped Dominion Energy Virginia secure legislation allowing the utility to charge ratepayers for a new pumped hydro storage facility to be built in the coalfields region. The law even deemed the project “in the public interest.” Three years later, Dominion included a new pumped hydro project […]


The high cost of propping up coal’s corpse

By: - September 24, 2020

Last winter, during the fight to pass the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Dominion Energy lobbyists went out of their way to save the company’s youngest coal plant in Wise County. It worked. Legislators exempted the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center from closure until 2045, when Dominion has to shutter all its fossil fuel generation.  VCHEC […]

Astronaut Rickey Arnold sees Hurricane Florence from the ISS. Credit: NASA

More hurricanes are coming. Will we be ready?

By: - August 24, 2020

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this year’s hurricane season could set a record for the number of storms big enough to be given names. NOAA now predicts a total of 19 to 25 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) in the Atlantic, of which 7 to 11 are likely to become […]


This is no time for Virginia to keep outdated building efficiency standards

By: - June 23, 2020

You remember the story of the Three Little Pigs. First the little pigs built themselves a house out of straw, but the big, bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew it down. Barely escaping with their lives, the little pigs built a new house out of sticks, but again the big, bad wolf blew it […]

Dominion Energy's downtown Richmond building. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

What part of ‘zero’ doesn’t Dominion understand? 

By: - May 14, 2020

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Dominion Energy Virginia filed its 2020 Integrated Resource Plan on May 1. Instead of charting the electric utility’s pathway to zero carbon emissions, it announced its intent to hang on to all its gas plants, and even add to the number. In doing so, it […]