ENERGY + ENVIRONMENT

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

For the first time, regulators reject Dominion Energy planning document, invite utility to refile

BY: - December 7, 2018

The State Corporation Commission, which regulates Virginia utilities, has shot down for the first time ever a long-range plan filed yearly by Dominion Energy and intended to outline how the company will meet its electric service obligations. “The commission finds, based on the record of this proceeding and applicable statutes, that the company has failed […]

COMMENTARY

It’s time for the General Assembly to side with customers, not utilities, on solar

BY: - December 7, 2018

Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation giving utilities the green light to develop 5,000 megawatts of wind and solar energy. This marks a milestone for Virginia, offering the possibility for an amount of solar equal in output to Dominion Energy’s newest gas-fired power plant in Greensville. Dominion projects the 1,588 megawatt Greensville plant […]

Environmental group receives $1 million to reduce stormwater pollution in Richmond’s waters

BY: - December 6, 2018

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in Richmond received a $1 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to speed up a plan meant to reduce stormwater pollution in Richmond’s waterways and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. The grant funds the Green Infrastructure Master Plan, which focuses “on identifying green infrastructure projects on public […]

COMMENTARY
Gov. Ralph Northam

Northam’s struggle to explain air board move suggests it’s exactly what it appears to be

BY: - December 5, 2018

Can Gov. Ralph Northam’s decision to yank two members off the State Air Pollution Control Board as it weighs a permit for the compressor station Dominion Energy plans for Buckingham County be seen as anything other than what it appears to be: a clumsy attempt to tip the scale for the influential utility? In the […]

Growing forward: Facing historic and modern challenges, Virginia’s black farmers look to bolster ranks and grow their communities

BY: - December 4, 2018

Agriculture is the largest private industry in Virginia, making a $70 billion economic impact annually, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There are more than 44,000 farmers in the commonwealth and the top crops include soybeans, corn and tobacco. Of those Virginia farmers, 1,865 are African American — about 4 percent. In 1920, census […]

Federal permits issued for Atlantic seismic testing, including along Virginia coast

BY: - November 30, 2018

Federal permits to allow Atlantic seismic testing, a preparatory step for future offshore drilling possibly off the coast of Virginia, were issued Friday despite widespread opposition from environmental groups, localities and other states along the east coast. The National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, approved incidental harassment authorizations for […]

Governor won’t ‘seat’ new air board members, but still plans to swear them in, precluding participation of former members

BY: - November 30, 2018

Under fire from environmentalists, Gov. Ralph Northam said earlier this week he wouldn’t seat two new appointees to the State Air Pollution Control Board until after a critical vote next month on a pipeline compressor station. So what exactly does “seat” mean? The semantics, it turns out, could be important, because some environmental groups argue […]

Virginia’s air quality improving, DEQ reports

BY: - November 28, 2018

New monitoring data shows that air quality is improving in Virginia. The Department of Environmental Quality’s ozone monitoring results for 2018 shows that levels of fine particulate pollution have decreased by more than 40 percent, while nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide levels have similarly, “dropped significantly,” according to a DEQ news release. Though necessary in […]

‘Working papers’ exemption claimed to shield governor’s calendar amid pipeline permit uproar

BY: - November 28, 2018

Last week, environmental activists circulated a video of Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell leaving Gov. Ralph Northam’s office. The timing raised eyebrows, coming on the heels of Northam’s much criticized decision to replace two members of the State Air Pollution Control Board, which was due to vote on a key permit for Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline. […]

Smithfield and Dominion team up to produce power from hog gas

BY: - November 27, 2018

Two massive companies have launched a new initiative to make the most of hog gas from dozens of operations in three states, including Virginia. Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods announced a joint venture Tuesday, dubbed Align Renewable Natural Gas, aimed at using methane from hog farms as a power source here as well as in […]

COMMENTARY

Amazon will need even more energy in Virginia. Will they make it clean?

BY: - November 26, 2018

Amazon Web Services jump-started the utility solar industry in Virginia in 2015, when it announced plans for its first solar farm in Accomack County. Three years later, Amazon remains (for now) the biggest purchaser of solar in the commonwealth, allowing it to offset some of the enormous amount of energy used by its data centers. […]

Major permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline suspended

BY: - November 21, 2018

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline hit another permitting snag Tuesday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended the 600-mile project’s authorization to cross hundreds of waterways and wetlands. “Following requests from Appalachian Mountain Advocates (Appalmad) attorneys, the Norfolk, Huntington, and Pittsburgh districts of the Army Corps of Engineers have each suspended its authorization of the […]