Author

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury and previously its environment and energy reporter. She has worked for multiple Virginia and regional publications, including Chesapeake Bay Journal, The Progress-Index and The Caroline Progress. Her reporting has won awards from groups such as the Society of Environmental Journalists and Virginia Press Association, and she is an alumna of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

Stronger financial incentives spur a big jump in stream fencing among Virginia livestock farmers

By: - December 18, 2020

A state push to encourage farmers to fence off streams from their livestock as a way to improve water quality throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed appears to be succeeding. According to data from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the number of farmers who have committed to fencing off waterways rose by 86 percent […]

The State Corporation Commission

Appalachian Power and the attorney general are challenging the SCC’s electric rate ruling, but for different reasons

By: - December 17, 2020

It’s not over yet. The Virginia State Corporation Commission this November denied Appalachian Power Company’s request to increase its electric rates and both the utility and the Office of the Attorney General are challenging the ruling.  Their aims are exactly opposite: Appalachian says regulators erred in rejecting the rate hike, while Virginia’s top attorney says regulators […]

Report: Virginia is ‘leading state’ in South on energy efficiency

By: - December 16, 2020

Virginia is the South’s “leading state” in energy efficiency efforts as a result of its 2020 passage of the Clean Economy Act and decision to join a regional carbon market, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found in its annual ranking of states’ progress in reducing their energy loads. The scorecard, which was released […]

Despite setbacks for new natural gas projects, companies push forward with plans

By: - December 16, 2020

When the State Corporation Commission on Dec. 1 rejected a proposal by Virginia Natural Gas to expand its pipeline infrastructure largely for a new power plant planned for Charles City County, opponents celebrated the decision as a critical blow to expansion of the fossil fuel in Virginia.  “The residents can rest easy for a while […]

A clean energy transition won’t be free. Officials hope energy efficiency can offset costs.

By: - December 4, 2020

Much of Virginia’s planned shift to a carbon-free electric grid involves grand plans: turbines sprouting hundreds of feet tall from the ocean waves and solar panels spread across thousands of acres. But another major part of the clean energy transition Virginia and other states are looking to make is often overlooked: energy efficiency.  Unlike wind, […]

Energy storage is the ‘Swiss army knife’ of the renewables transition, but it’s still evolving

By: - December 3, 2020

Hang around any debate about clean energy and you’re bound to hear one question: What do you do when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing?  The answer, at least in theory, is straightforward: energy storage.  Storage can be thought of as the third leg of the stool Virginia will use to reach […]

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 […]