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

At the cusp of historic energy investments in Virginia, COVID-19 handed us a lemon. Let’s make lemonade.

By: - April 30, 2020

In mid-March, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to transition our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy over the coming years. Two weeks later, Virginia shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the businesses whose very existence is now in peril are the energy efficiency companies and solar installers we will be […]

COMMENTARY

With a framework for Virginia’s energy transition in place, here’s what happens next

By: - March 31, 2020

With Democrats in charge, Virginia passed a suite of bills that establish a sturdy framework for a transition to renewable energy in the electric sector. At the center of this transformation are the Clean Economy Act, HB1526/SB851, and the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act, HB981/SB1027. Other new laws direct further planning, make it […]

COMMENTARY

New laws clear away barriers to small solar projects

By: - March 18, 2020

Virginia General Assembly members have an expression for when opposing interests agree on a bill: they call it “peace in the valley.”  The phrase comes from a gospel song by Thomas A. Dorsey, written for Mahalia Jackson and then later sung by a bunch of white guys including Red Foley and Elvis Presley. The lyrics, […]

COMMENTARY

The Wise County coal plant should never have been built. Why fight to keep it open?

By: - March 5, 2020

The Virginia Clean Economy Act continues to bump along towards the finish line, losing pieces of itself but picking up new and different features as it makes its tortuous way. Most recently, and disconcertingly, Republicans representing southwest Virginia persuaded the Senate to remove a key provision requiring the closure of the Virginia City coal plant […]

COMMENTARY

Yeah, I’m not perfect either. Pass the Clean Economy Act.

By: - February 24, 2020

When it was first introduced, and before the utilities and special interests got their grubby little paws on it, the Clean Economy Act was an ambitious and far-reaching overhaul of Virginia energy policy that turned a little timid when it came to particulars.  Sausage-making ensued.  The bill that emerged from the grinder inevitably allows Dominion […]

COMMENTARY

Both this session’s big energy omnibus bills could be better

By: - January 14, 2020

Climate and energy activists have been pinning their hopes on the 2020 legislative session to produce a framework for transitioning our economy to 100 percent carbon-free energy. After years of talking big but delivering little in the way of carbon reductions and clean energy, the General Assembly is under pressure to finally deliver. Much of […]

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

The strange case of thermal energy

By: - January 7, 2020

Renewable energy advocates are hoping that 2020 will be the year Virginia finally begins to make wind and solar the centerpiece of its energy planning, rather than a grudging add-on. The General Assembly will consider at least two bills that adopt a mandatory renewable portfolio standard as well as legislation to lower carbon emissions and […]

COMMENTARY
Enviva Southampton biomass plant

What’s not to like about biomass? Deforestation, pollution and overpriced power.

By: - December 2, 2019

What if you could get your electricity from a fuel that destroys forests, produces more air pollution than coal, and is priced higher than alternatives? “Wow, sign me up!” you would not say, because as a sane person you don’t like deforestation, pollution and overpriced power.  Also, because you are not Dominion Energy Virginia. Dominion […]

COMMENTARY
The State Corporation Commission

Green power for suckers program gets SCC approval

By: - November 8, 2019

Virginia’s State Corporation Commission has approved Dominion Energy Virginia’s request to offer a new product to electric utility customers who want to buy renewable energy at a discount but lack the knowledge to understand when they are being taken for chumps.  “Rider REC” is an ultra-cheap version of the company’s Green Power Program (itself of […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia is all-in on offshore wind but Dominion’s decision raises questions about cost, competence

By: - November 4, 2019

It’s not every day that the names of a major utility and the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization share space on a banner. But at the American Wind Energy Association’s annual offshore wind conference earlier this month in Boston, the logos of the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club and Dominion Energy bookended those of […]

COMMENTARY

On energy efficiency, unfortunately, utilities remain in the driver’s seat

By: - October 11, 2019

There’s bad news for Virginians looking to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels: The job just got 2% harder. That’s the percentage increase in electricity use in Virginia over the past year, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).  The increase was driven by the continuation of a three-year upward trend in […]

COMMENTARY

A closer look at a cascade of clean energy announcements in Virginia

By: - September 27, 2019

Is Virginia off to the clean energy races? Last week saw a cascade of clean energy announcements in Virginia. On Tuesday, Governor Northam issued an Executive Order aimed at achieving 30 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050, and with near-term state procurement targets.  On Thursday, Dominion Energy announced it […]