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. She previously worked as a staff reporter for Chesapeake Bay Journal, the Progress-Index and the Caroline Progress, and her work has been twice 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 Institute and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]

Policymakers are banking on trees to cut carbon. Forest experts say Virginia needs more seedlings.  

By: - June 1, 2021

CRIMORA — In nine neat fields tucked between a bend of the South River and a Norfolk Southern line, a key piece of Virginia’s carbon-free future is taking shape.  Here, in many places appearing as little more than a green haze floating above the soil, some 50 varieties of trees are slowly poking shoots up […]

New deer hunting regulations approved as chronic wasting disease spreads to Southwest Virginia 

By: - May 27, 2021

As chronic wasting disease continues its spread across Virginia, the Board of Wildlife Resources on Thursday approved a set of changes to hunting regulations designed to curb the neurological condition, which has a 100 percent fatality rate among deer and related species.  Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources announced a deer killed […]

Dominion’s exit from regional capacity market raises some eyebrows — and questions

By: - May 25, 2021

Citing a controversial federal order that made it difficult for renewables to compete against traditional fossil fuel power plants in regional electricity markets, Dominion Energy this spring withdrew all its Virginia resources from the regional capacity market run by PJM, which coordinates the electric grid in all or part of 13 states and Washington, D.C.  […]

‘A lot of promise’: Vertical farming takes root in Virginia.

By: - May 24, 2021

Imagine a field of lettuce.  Say the lettuces are all buttercrunch, and they dot the field like crisp rosettes. Each has been seeded by a farmer, kept free of pests, watered for weeks and finally cut at the base before being rinsed and packed for transport. Each is destined for a different meal: a lazy […]

On shared solar, Dominion and solar groups clash over $75 minimum bill proposal

By: - May 19, 2021

Solar groups and Virginia’s lead energy agency are asking regulators to hold a hearing on Dominion Energy’s plans to charge shared solar customers a minimum bill of almost $75, contending the price tag could hinder customer participation In an April 30 letter to the State Corporation Commission, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Director John […]

Northam, bay state governors propose $1 billion federal investment in Chesapeake Bay cleanup

By: - May 13, 2021

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam joined other state leaders in the Chesapeake Bay watershed Thursday to call for a $1 billion federal investment in the decades-long cleanup of the nation’s largest estuary, which is facing a 2025 deadline for major pollution reductions.  This “significant and much needed infusion of new funds … will jumpstart the final […]

The State Corporation Commission

With approval of Dominion’s renewables plan, is it a ‘new day’ or ‘business as usual’ for state regulators?

By: - May 13, 2021

State regulators’ blessing of Dominion Energy’s first annual plan for how it will meet the ambitious renewables targets set by the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act has sounded the starting bell of Virginia’s race to decarbonize its electric grid by midcentury. In rulings handed down April 30, the State Corporation Commission signed off on a […]

State begins rolling out $20 million in Volkswagen money for electric school buses

By: - May 12, 2021

Although plans to replace Virginia school districts’ diesel buses with electric ones have foundered in the General Assembly, the state is moving forward with bus electrification plans using money from Volkswagen’s so-called “Dieselgate” scandal.  On Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced it would make $20 million of the state’s Volkswagen settlement funds available for school […]

With state certification now in doubt, Charles City gas plant project enters limbo

By: - May 10, 2021

The future of the proposed C4GT natural gas plant in Charles City County looks increasingly uncertain as the expiration date for a major state certification passes without significant construction and county officials ask plant developers to give back the land on which the facility is planned to be built. Under the terms of the certificate […]

In Brown Grove lawsuit over Hanover Wegmans distribution center, Union Hill casts a long shadow

By: - May 10, 2021

A year and a half after a federal court overturned a state air permit allowing pipeline developers to construct a gas compressor station in the majority-Black community of Union Hill on the grounds that environmental justice concerns hadn’t been adequately considered, the ruling continues to cast a long shadow in Virginia. Now, a coalition of […]

Data centers and electric vehicles will drive up Virginia electricity demand, UVA forecaster predicts

By: - May 5, 2021

Demand for electricity is likely to balloon in Virginia over the next three decades as data centers flock to the state and electric vehicles increasingly replace traditional ones, a forecast from the University of Virginia’s Energy Transition Initiative released last week found.  “Virginia policymakers have decided to make our electricity supply greener, and to do […]

More delays, cost increases for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By: - May 4, 2021

Mountain Valley Pipeline announced Tuesday morning it would push back its completion date to summer 2022 and raise the expected price tag of the project to $6.2 billion.  The setbacks are the latest for the controversial 303-mile pipeline planned to carry natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in West Virginia into southern […]