Critics Attack Dominion's Plan, Predict More Carbon Pollution and Higher Prices

May 6, 2020

Last week Dominion Energy released the Integrated Resource Plan required by the state. The IRP details different ways the company could generate electricity over the next 25 years.  Today, critics are weighing-in – claiming consumers will pay more, and the utility is still depending too much on fossil fuel. 

Will Cleveland, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, says Dominion's long-term plans do too little to address climate change.
Credit SELC

In a document of nearly 300 pages, Dominion outlines four different directions it might take over the next 25 years, three of which would increase solar and wind generation from previous plans by 300%. 

“Climate change is caused by carbon emissions, and if you look at the IRP, it has a significant carbon footprint,” says Will Cleveland, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

That’s because Dominion would still depend on natural gas.  The company says generation from wind and solar will increase, but to assure reliability, it needs gas plants for days when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.  

The firm also proposes building a second pumped storage facility with one reservoir high above another.  

“When electricity is cheap, you can pump water from the lower reservoir to the higher reservoir," Cleveland explains. " Then when electricity costs are high, you can run water through a hydroturbine, from the higher reservoir to the lower one, to generate electricity.”

Cleveland says Dominion already has the world’s largest pumped storage facility in the world -- in Bath County -- and he’s not convinced it needs another. 

Such details will be debated when the State Corporation Commission holds public hearings this fall.  

Editor's note: The Southern Environmental Law Center is an underwriter of programming on RadioIQ.