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This is no time for Virginia to keep outdated building efficiency standards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


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]

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 […]

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 […]