Green Scene Blog: The energy future in Virginia

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In this post, fair readers, Appalachian Voices’ Tom Cormons gives us his take on Dominion’s 15-year plan–and issues a call to action, too.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. Our family has a set of newborn twins expected home from the hospital within another week or two, and it’s funny how babies simultaneously awaken you to the present moment and highlight the importance of preparing well for the coming decades and beyond. Kids transform the future from something abstract to something so literally tangible that you regularly hold it in your arms.

There’s the personal side of this, of course–everything from financial planning to the apple and pear trees my four-year-old and I planted in the backyard earlier this year and the new garden beds we’re building. But there’s no escaping the fact that, prepare individually as we might, the fates of our families and offspring–and everything else we care about-are tied to the future of our communities, our society, and the planet itself. To be sure, contemplating this reality can lead to despair for those attuned to the array of threats to our common future. But despair get us nowhere, and there’s something far more useful that comes just as naturally: the excitement of working together to lay the foundation for a bright future in the face of these threats.

Opportunities to do this abound, and a central part of Appalachian Voices’ role is to engage people willing and able to take at least a little time for this exciting work.

There’s an important opportunity right now, actually. Virginia is currently reviewing Dominion Virginia Power’s 15-year plan for providing the electricity we use. In other words, this is the time for Virginians to make our voices heard regarding how Dominion will be investing the money from our electric bills when my twins are teenagers. Will they still be pouring our cash into dirty energy sources like coal that wreck havoc on our mountains, air, water and climate? Well, according to Dominion’s 15-year plan, they will be. Although the plan does call for retiring some of Dominion’s oldest coal-fired power plants (a good first step), it also involves no large-scale wind or solar projects and falls far short of Virginia’s conservative goal for increased energy efficiency! In other words, Dominion plans to continue locking us into dependence on the fossil fuels that are one of the greatest threats to our children’s future.

Fortunately, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) is accepting comments from Virginians on the plan. We’ve made it easy for you to submit a comment on the Wise Energy for Virginia website demanding that electricity ratepayers’ money be invested in a transition to clean energy. And, for those of you able to go the extra mile to voice your desire for a clean energy future, please considering attending our coalition’s Rally for a Clean Energy Future in Richmond scheduled to take place outside the SCC building next Tuesday, May 8, the day the SCC begins its hearing on Dominion’s plan.

Can you imagine watching a clean energy future for Virginia growing over the years along with the children, trees and gardens in our communities? We can–and must–work together to make this a reality. Please take the time to submit a comment, and I hope many of you can make it to Richmond next Tuesday, May 8!

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