Dominion and its excess profits

Dominion Energy says it needs a raise to pay for their proposed “above average” capital expenditure plans. Here’s a thought ... stop building outdated and expensive natural gas infrastructure. Those new gas “peaker” plants and the $7.5 billion ACP pipeline are risky bets.

“At $2 even the mighty Marcellus doesn’t make sense,” says a former CEO of EQT. He says the industry needs a $3.50 price, but the 5-year forecast only predicts $2.50, and the several strategies proposed to raise the price just aren’t guaranteed to succeed.

Drillers have seen one wave of bankruptcies. More will occur if drillers continue to drill with borrowed money. Plus, the now competitively priced wind and solar continue to grow their market share, and Virginia has exceptional renewable resource choices.

Our utility business model must change if Virginia is to build an affordable, clean, reliable energy economy. We need new regulations that won’t punish our utilities when demand is reduced. We need new rules and new sources of funds so that customers can retrofit buildings to use less electricity and generate energy on-site. We need new rules to encourage our utilities to develop new business opportunities like the electric bus charging stations Dominion is piloting.

Most of all, the General Assembly needs to listen to Dominion’s major customers like the U.S. Navy and Walmart, and especially to the staff’s comments from the State Corporation Commission. Dominion needs to concede the reality of a very different future before our utility becomes an ineffective anachronism.



Get realistic on glocal warming

I know that during the presidential primary process, candidates try to overshadow their opponents by offering the biggest ideas and the most costly proposals. They want to show their vision.

I get it, but a recent News & Advance article (“Democrats propose spending trillions fighting climate change,” Sept. 4) has me thinking that, when it comes to climate change, things are getting a little out of hand.

Some of the plans that have been offered would cost $15 trillion or more. Do we really need to spend that amount of money when greenhouse emissions are falling as we transition to natural gas? I don’t think so.

Our country is now reducing its carbon dioxide emissions at rate faster than any other country. In fact, CO2 emissions are now near the lowest point they have been in a quarter century.

The proposals that Democrats are putting forward are not only costly, they are not likely to do much to reduce greenhouse gases further.

Take wind power. Researchers at Harvard University have estimated that moving to wind energy will require five to 20 times more land than previously thought. That fact would raise average surface temperatures by 0.24 degrees Celsius. I would like to see bold plans this primary season, but I hope candidates also will consider cost and will acknowledge reality.

U.S. emissions rates are falling because of natural gas. Let’s stay the course.



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