Author

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is the Mercury's environment and energy reporter, covering everything from utility regulation to sea level rise. Originally from McLean, she has spent over a decade in journalism and academic publishing and previously worked as a staff reporter for Chesapeake Bay Journal, the Progress-Index and the Caroline Progress. She is the recipient of a first place award for explanatory reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists and has twice been honored by the Virginia Press Association as "Best in Show" for online writing. She was chosen for the 2020 cohort of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

The State Corporation Commission

Northam to appoint former administration official to State Corporation Commission in January

By: - December 2, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam announced he intends to appoint former Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Angela Navarro to fill the State Corporation Commission seat that will be vacated by Judge Mark Christie at the beginning of 2021.  The pick was widely expected in Richmond, where Navarro has worked in both the energy and environment spheres. […]

Long-sought changes to rooftop solar laws offer a new vision of Virginia’s electric grid

By: - December 2, 2020

A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage — and a solar panel for every roof?  For many years, that notion would have been unthinkable in Virginia, where fairly competitive electric rates, a lack of incentives and what one solar developer described as “extreme utility control of the legislature” made most companies think […]

As solar farms multiply across Virginia, officials reckon with land use challenges

By: - December 1, 2020

Once upon a time, Virginia saw Halifax County as a golden place.  Just above the North Carolina border, in the heart of Southside Virginia, Halifax’s sunshine and abundant lands yielded some of the country’s largest crops of brightleaf tobacco. Mild and fragrant, the yellow-leaved variety sometimes known as “golden tobacco” sparked awe among visitors to […]

Virginia SCC judge appointed to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, leaving seat vacant

By: - November 30, 2020

Democrats will get to fill yet another seat on the Virginia State Corporation Commission after the U.S. Senate on Monday evening confirmed Judge Mark Christie to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  The nomination of Christie, who has served on the SCC since 2004, has been in the works for months. The White House formally announced […]

With offshore wind, Virginia hopes a 21st-century manufacturing boom will offset a hefty price tag

By: - November 30, 2020

Maybe, if you squint really hard and the skies are clear, you might be able to convince yourself that you see them, out on the horizon: two turbines spinning far offshore of Virginia Beach.  You can’t, of course — the distance to the Dominion Energy-owned offshore wind outpost is too great. Bill Murray, a senior […]

Virginia’s Clean Energy Transition: A special series by the Virginia Mercury

By: - November 30, 2020

The 2020 General Assembly session will be remembered as a sea change in Virginia’s approach to not only energy, but climate change. From a fossil-fuel friendly state with only a small renewables presence, Virginia went to one with a mandatory schedule for phasing out fossil fuels by 2050, participation in a regional carbon market and […]

State Corporation Commission denies Appalachian Power rate increase request

By: - November 24, 2020

Appalachian Power Company, Virginia’s second largest electric utility serving more than half a million customers in and around Southwest Virginia, will not be allowed to raise its rates for the upcoming three years, regulators decided Tuesday. The State Corporation Commission also slightly decreased the company’s allowed profit margin, from 9.42 percent to 9.2 percent. Appalachian […]

Virginia Mercury

State officials urge Virginians to stay home for Thanksgiving, rapid COVID-19 tests flow to Va. nursing homes, Charlottesville christens ‘Spruce Bader Ginsburg,’ and more headlines

By: - November 23, 2020

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • As Thanksgiving looms and COVID-19 cases spike nationwide, Virginia officials are asking residents to help slow the virus’ spread by staying home for the holiday or holding celebrations outdoors or online.—Virginian-Pilot • Virginia has begun shipping 239,000 rapid COVID-19 tests to nursing […]

With Northam’s signature, new eviction and utility cut-off protections take effect

By: and - November 18, 2020

Gov. Ralph Northam signed a revised state budget Wednesday that restricts evictions and prohibits utilities from cutting off power, water and gas through the end of the state of emergency. “This budget will help keep people in their homes with their lights on and their water running,” Northam said. The new rules go into effect […]

The State Corporation Commission

Virginia Natural Gas infrastructure expansion to be scaled back amid plant financing troubles

By: - November 17, 2020

Plans for one of two controversial new natural gas plants planned to be built in Charles City County appear to be faltering, according to a letter sent by Virginia Natural Gas to state regulators Friday.  In the filing by McGuireWoods attorney Lisa Crabtree, Virginia Natural Gas informed the State Corporation Commission that it would not […]

On Virginia’s far Atlantic flank, a cherished store of salt marshes is being lost

By: - November 16, 2020

NEAR SMITH ISLAND — On a still day, floating in a flat-bottomed boat in the waters that stretch like sheets of glass between the mainland and the barrier islands off Virginia’s Eastern Shore, it’s hard to believe anything in this corner of the world has ever changed at all.  For centuries upon centuries, you could […]

Mountain Valley Pipeline faces another legal roadblock. What does that mean for the long-embattled project? 

By: - November 12, 2020

Yes, Mountain Valley Pipeline is still kicking. Although some activists were confident in the wake of the July cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that Mountain Valley would soon follow suit, the project keeps plugging along even as costs rise, its timeline is extended and the courts continue to cast a skeptical eye on permits […]