Heh, Heh. Virginia Electricity Less Carbon-Intensive than Its Neighbors’ — without RPS

by James A. Bacon

The Gooze, known in more polite company as Peter G. , is a big fan of solar power and wind power and thinks we ought to have more of both in Virginia. In his most recent post, he seems particularly impressed by the activities of Amazon Web Services, which has announced plans to build the largest solar facility east of the Mississippi in Accomack County and has joined in a large wind project in North Carolina. What Virginia needs to do, he suggests, is enact a mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring Virginia electric utilities, like those in neighboring North Carolina and Maryland, to utilize more renewables such as solar, wind and biomass regardless of how much more expensive they may be than conventional power sources.

It’s helpful to remind ourselves exactly where Virginia stands nationally in the emission of Carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas that is both essential to life and implicated in global warming. The following data comes from “Benchmarking Air Emissions of the Largest 100 Electric Power Producers in the United States,” published by M.J. Bradley Associates, which bills itself as a strategic environmental consulting firm. No, the report was not funded by the Koch Brothers. It was prepared in consultation with Bank of America, several electric utilities and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The report looks at two broad measures of carbon intensity: Total CO2 emissions for each state, and the CO2 emissions rate — emissions per megawatt hour of electricity generated. First total CO2 emissions:

total_emissions

Texas is by far the biggest CO2 emitter in the country. That reflects the fact that (1) Texas has a large gross domestic product (GDP) and (2) a fossil fuel-heavy electric generation mix. Note that although Virginia has the 11th largest state economy in the country, it ranks 26th by total CO2 emissions. In other words, Virginia is far more CO2-efficient than the national average.

(This measure is, admittedly, a rough one and overlooks important nuances. For example, Virginia has built one of the nation’s largest clusters of data centers, which consume a tremendous amount of electricity but replace electricity that would have been consumed in other states had businesses not outsourced their computing and data storage to the cloud. On the other hand, Virginia is a net importer of electricity from other states, meaning that some of the CO2 emissions attributed to its economy is allocated to other states.)

emission_rateHere are the numbers for the CO2 emissions rate, which reflects fuel mix. Virginia’s fuel mix includes a lot of zero-CO2 nuclear power as well as natural gas, which, though a fossil fuel, releases less CO2 per kilowatt hour than coal or oil. By this measure, Virginia ranks 38th on the list — lower than the two states with renewable portfolio standards that Peter admires so much, Maryland and North Carolina.

Not only does Virginia emit less CO2 per megawatt hour than its two neighbors, its average electricity costs are lower. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (not funded by the Koch Brothers, by the way), here’s how electric rates compare based on 2013 data:

Virginia — 9.07 cents per kilowatt hour.

North Carolina — 9.15 cents per kilowatt hour.

Maryland — 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

And for purposes of comparison, California, the state that has gone “all in” with renewable energy — 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

My point is not that renewable energy is bad. Eventually, the cost of renewables will be competitive with other fuels, and then we should embrace them. My point is that there are trade-offs entailed with imposing renewable energy before it’s ready for prime time. One of those trade-offs is price. Once upon a time, progressives like Peter deemed it outrageous for power utilities to raise their rates on the grounds that a high cost of electricity punished the poor. No longer. Fear of global warming trumps social justice. The irony here is that Virginia’s electric power fleet outperforms North Carolina and Maryland in carbon intensity and price — all without mandated renewables. How about that?

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40 responses to “Heh, Heh. Virginia Electricity Less Carbon-Intensive than Its Neighbors’ — without RPS

  1. well this is a bit bogus -.. let’s call it bogus-lite

    comparing states without regard to size or population or GDP is what kind of a comparison?

    It’s for those who feed on soundbites… who want simple answers.. they can feel good about.. especially if it satisfies their preconceived biases.

    for instance.. look at the number one economy in the US – 8th in the world – California – on 10 notches up from Va but with 5 times the population of Va and 6 times our GDP.

    and look at New York – BELOW Virginia!

    and look at the State that brags about it’s economic prosperity ..and taking jobs from California – not only number 1 but twice the emissions of the next State and 5 times that of California.

    how about a couple of more relevant measures?

    emissions per GDP or emissions per capita?

  2. CO2 tons per capita [excerpted]

    Wyoming 112.8
    Texas 25.59
    States Total average 17.28
    North Carolina 12.74
    Virginia 11.97
    Maryland 10.96
    California 9.18
    New York 8.1

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

  3. oops.. you’re correct.. but my point still stands I think – just comparing states is not particularly relevant when there are metrics such as land area, population, GDP, etc…

    why would anyone compare states ? I don’t see any useful relevance.

  4. In all fairness.. it is how the EPA regulates… and part of the angst with regard to the emission targets for the state.

    someone good with Excel could get the data…. just add the population to a column and do the division.. surely someone here can do that.. eh?

    you know the basic belief of the Conservationists (not to be confused with “Conservatives”) is that price drives consumption – as well as energy efficiency.

    When someone from the administration or EPA says it out loud – they get hammered.

    but the whole deal with fuel efficient cars started with the EPA mileage standards and goosed up when gas prices hit $4+ per gallon.

    Now – the price of gas has gone down – partly because of tight oil but also because of less consumption – which is confirmed by the impact on gas tax revenues…

    If you go to an island where electricity is 50 cents a kwh – you can bet their CO2 emissions are dramatically lower on ANY metric including per state jurisdiction.

  5. And now a message from our sponsor.

  6. I agree with larryg that this post is apples and oranges BS. Of course Wyoming and Kentucky have lots of CO2. They have tons of coal and large mine-mouth electricity plants. Texas has a ton of oil rigs and a big manufacturing industry.

    Gee, Jim, you’ll do anything these days to buttress Dominion’s position while you put me down personally.

    Yet you avoid the key point I am trying to make — that there is a big split in the business sector about which way to go. Stick with fossil or go renewable. The Gooles and Amazons and Facebooks of the world want renewables. These are the digital giants that Virginia very much wants to have.

    But it is stuck with the old crowd that is very much stuck in the past.

    Did Dominion feed you these talking points?

    • “You’ll do anything these days to buttress Dominion’s position while you put me down personally.”

      If presenting information that puts your post in context constitutes “putting you down personally,” what do you call it when you insinuate that I regurgitate Dominion talking points?

      I guess impugning my integrity is a lot easier than dealing with the substance of my blog post.

      As for your key point, Amazon, Google, etc. are investing voluntarily in renewable resources. Good for them. If Virginia companies want to follow their example, no one is stopping them. The problem is that you’re not satisfied with making the case that Virginia utilities should invest in renewables, you want to pass a law and compel them — regardless of what it costs rate payers.

      As for my key point, which you ignored, Virginia’s electric system emits less CO2 per megawatt hour at lower cost than Maryland’s and North Carolina’s. Pointing out reality makes me a Dominion apologist? Really?

  7. I pointed out also that some major corporations like Walmart have made a significant commitment to renewables.

    Now everything we hear from Jim and Dominion and the SCC is that – that is all wrong.

    so who should we believe Bacon, Dominion and the SCC or Walmart, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple?

    So Bacon and Dominion and the SCC are saying to these companies: ” No, we don’t want your kind of Virginia”.. we only want companies that rely on good old-fashioned coal and fossil fuels and not get themselves mixed up with “leftists”.

    oh my.

    • C’mon, Larry. I don’t say that renewables are “all wrong.” I say they present problems for the electric grid and they cost rate payers. Do you deny that?

      If Wal Mart wants to pursue a green policy for whatever reason — corporate P.R., a commitment to the environment, whatever — it should be free to make that decision. That’s Wal Mart’s business. I’m not telling Wal Mart *not* to do it!

      You and Peter are really scary. Neither of you can tell the difference between something that you think people/businesses ought to do and what government ought to make them do. If you want something to be a certain way, you jump immediately to the conclusion that government ought to make it so.

      • Jim -some states seem to be able to accommodate renewable energy without it ‘causing problems for the grid” … but Virginia not.

        do you think Virginia has a unique problem with not being able to take the same exact power that Maryland and NC can take?

        or do you think it has something to do with Dominion?

        and If Google, Amazon and others CHOOSE to do business in NC and MD because they are not welcome in Va – you say what? that’s their choice?

        come on Jim – do you really think Va has problems unique to the state not found in Md and NC?

        • You may not know but the Amazon supported wind farm in northeast North Carolina will be served from Dominion’s part of the “grid” (actually operated by PJM, which also operates the area where Amazon’s solar facility will be located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore).

          The North Carolina wind site comprises an area of just over 34 square miles and will produce 204 MW of power when operating fully.
          http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article27125410.html

  8. I may have more to say, but pls check Sentence#5 saying Amazon doing “off-shore” wind in NC. Believe it’s “on-shore” wind on farmland with the landowners getting pretty good income per year per wind turbine. In theory that approach might work well for VA, but it sounds to me like NC may have better wind conditions. NC has among the best on-shore wind resources on the East Coast, according to one article.

    I am not a big fan of the mandated RPS, thinking VA took the correct approach there. I never thought (MD for example) was going to meet its RPS mandate promises. But the new EPA Clean Power Plan to be announced essentially makes it a whole new ballgame.

  9. Jim –

    Your comments would seem to dove tail with the findings mentioned in my comments to Peter’s article found at baconsrebellion.com/2015/07/renewable-energy-a-tale-of-two-virginias

    This great inefficiency of solar and wind likely would account for the enormous short-falls in Europe’s efforts to meet its carbon reduction targets, including as the same compare to US reduction efforts.

    I highly recommend reading the materials that are referenced in my comments. Those materials are highly intelligent and well informed.

    Several of them provide a whole new variety of fresh and telling insights into these issues from a number of perspectives. One, for example, in the Google study talks as to how we have already lost irrevocable lost “the war on carbon” should we use all of the alarmists best information on the subject.

    • I don’t want to open up the whole “global warming” can of worms, but you’re right. By some warmist prognosticians, it’s already too late. We’re doomed. If so, why the heck are we spending hundreds of billions of dollars trying to reduce CO2 emissions? Why aren’t we spending those billions on adapting to the cataclysms to come?

      One factoid you’ll never see the warmists mention: The Arctic icecap, which by some forecasts should have totally disappeared during summer by now, seems to have resuscitated itself, increasing in area by one third since 2013. Another factoid you’ll never see: The Antarctic icecap hit an all-time record last year. The world just isn’t cooperating!

      It will be interesting to see how reality plays out. Temperatures might nudge a little higher this year — it’s an El Nino year, and temperatures could spike.

  10. we’re probably no more doomed than we were with the Ozone Holes….

    but you guys deny, deny, deny and then you say “too late”.

    yes – factoids are what the skeptics love except they’re not even facts.

    Summer 2014 was record warmest on Earth, says NOAA

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/09/18/june-july-august-set-record-for-warmest-summer-on-earth-says-noaa/

    any cursory search on the arctic sea ice will bring up a slew of hits that divide up into two basic groups – NOAA, NASA and other scientific organizations and then the right wing echo chamber.. claims from armchair scientists essentially cherry-picking data .. some of it outright misrepresentation, disinformation, and lies..

    what’s amazing to me is that folks who seem perfectly intelligent will swallow their conspiracy theory stuff – hook, line and sinker.

    in order to not believe -one basically has to believe that NOAA, NASA and other scientists around the planet are engaged in a massive worldwide conspiracy.

    that”s right.. that’s what it basically means.. but you almost never hear them admit that – they instead , talk around it..

    the CPP by the way is not just about CO2 – it’s about mercury – and yet the opponents ignore the mercury part.. like it’s not even part of it.

  11. The point of accommodating renewables IS to start working on what it will take to incorporate wind/solar energy that varies into the grid – that right now is not working to load balance smaller more distributed inputs but make no mistake – the grid IS set up to load-balance bigger inputs.

    when all the units at Surry are taken down – you better believe they load balance.

    we already load balance wind/solar with natural gas combined cycle plants that can and do vary their generation rapidly and can easily co-generate with wind/solar – right now.

    This is not a rubics cube of a problem.

    If Dominion can build a combined cycle gas plant that can ramp up or down in minutes (rather than the hours/days that base load requires) – then someone has to tell me why you can’t co-locate wind/solar next to a combied cycle gas plant.

    this sorts takes on the aura of the Global warming skeptics and deniers with the believers.

    I believe that wind/solar are ALREADY co-located with gas plants – it’s not a theory. it’s a reality.

    ” Solar power is clean and steady – until the sun goes down, or clouds roll in. Wind turbines stop spinning when the breeze dies. To provide reliable electricity, renewable energy sources need back-up. This is fuelling a new generation of hybrid power plants in which solar or wind installations are supported by natural gas.

    Just as hybrid cars marry the efficiency of electric propulsion with the flexibility of liquid fuel, these hybrid power plants combine emission-free renewables with the reliability of traditional fuels.

    Hybrid plants could help drive the growth of renewable energy from its current global share of less than 5% of power production to 15% by 2035. They allow wind or solar energy to operate on the back of fossil fuel systems and feed into established transmission lines.

    Heat from solar operations combines with exhaust from gas combustion to power steam turbines, while wind power is transformed directly into electricity. Adding wind or solar to a gas-powered plant and sharing steam turbines can be significantly cheaper than building a stand-alone renewable facility.”

    http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/innovation/inspiring-stories/solar-gas.html

    so this is a reality – and anywhere that Dominion puts a combined cycle gas plant – they COULD put wind and solar also.. and run the plant as a single unit that automatically mixed the “fuels” to provide steady output electricity.

    Dominion could have done this with Amazon’s solar farm.

    they could do this with any solar/wind farm sited near a gas plant.

    so where are we on doing this?

    is Dominion doing this?

    Is Dominion working with Amazon or other companies to do this?

    Finally – if Amazon has to go to another state to do these kinds of projects – what’s the chance that they put their servers in those other states also?

    I continue to ask – is the way that Dominion wants to do business – good for the way that Virginia should be doing business?

    • To my mind, there is one thing that Dominion could be doing to better integrate intermittent renewables into the electric grid, and that is by more aggressively embracing “smart grid” technologies that create a lot more flexibility in how electricity flows through the grid. If I have the time, I will press Dominion on its approach to the smart grid. But there’s so much pressing news, and I have only so much time in a sponsorship that is the functional equivalent of a part-time job, that I cannot get to everything all at once. I’ve only been at this five weeks, and I’m still going up the learning curve. Sorry.

  12. The point of accommodating renewables IS to start working on what it will take to incorporate wind/solar energy that varies into the grid – that right now is not working to load balance smaller more distributed inputs but make no mistake – the grid IS set up to load-balance bigger inputs.

    when all the units at Surry are taken down – you better believe they load balance.

    we already load balance wind/solar with natural gas combined cycle plants that can and do vary their generation rapidly and can easily co-generate with wind/solar – right now.

    This does not appear to be a rubics cube of a problem.

    If Dominion can build a combined cycle gas plant that can ramp up or down in minutes to pick up the load differential between base load chasing peak load demand – why can’t it do the same with varying wind/solar inputs?

    this sorts takes on the aura of the Global warming skeptics and deniers with the believers.

    I believe that wind/solar are ALREADY co-located with gas plants – it’s not a theory. it’s a reality.

    ” Solar power is clean and steady – until the sun goes down, or clouds roll in. Wind turbines stop spinning when the breeze dies. To provide reliable electricity, renewable energy sources need back-up. This is fuelling a new generation of hybrid power plants in which solar or wind installations are supported by natural gas.

    Just as hybrid cars marry the efficiency of electric propulsion with the flexibility of liquid fuel, these hybrid power plants combine emission-free renewables with the reliability of traditional fuels.

    Hybrid plants could help drive the growth of renewable energy from its current global share of less than 5% of power production to 15% by 2035. They allow wind or solar energy to operate on the back of fossil fuel systems and feed into established transmission lines.

    Heat from solar operations combines with exhaust from gas combustion to power steam turbines, while wind power is transformed directly into electricity. Adding wind or solar to a gas-powered plant and sharing steam turbines can be significantly cheaper than building a stand-alone renewable facility.”

    http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/innovation/inspiring-stories/solar-gas.html

    so this is a reality – and anywhere that Dominion puts a combined cycle gas plant – they COULD ALSO put wind and solar .. and run the plant as a single unit that automatically mixed the “fuels” to provide steady output electricity.

    Dominion could have done this with Amazon’s solar farm.

    they could do this with any solar/wind farm sited near a gas plant.

    so where are we on doing this?

    is Dominion doing this?

    Is Dominion working with Amazon or other companies to do this?

    Finally – if Amazon has to go to another state to do these kinds of projects – what’s the chance that they also put their servers and distribution centers in those other states also?

    I continue to ask – is the way that Dominion wants to do business – combatible the way that Virginia should be doing business with the likes of GOOGLE and others?

  13. I was confused by the electric cost figures quoted in Jim’s blog article. Seems however it is accurate “All Sectors” elec cost including industrial customers. Residential elec cost is a bit higher with US Average running around 12.6 cents/kWhr and VA residential about 11.4 cents/kWhr.

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a

  14. Having our nuclear reactors on an earthquake fault line makes me wonder about the ultimate cost of Dominion’s approach to “clean” energy. Yes, the reactors survived a rather minor quake. God knows what happens if the next one is more substantial.

    Nuclear power is clean from a CO2 perspective but it has a lot of other problems (like the occasional catastrophic accident). Wind turbines and solar panels generate electricity and can only do so much harm. Given the unholy romance between Dominion and the Imperial Clown show in Richmond I’d rather pay more for clean non-nuclear electricity than have Fredricksburg as the next Chernobyl.

    Nuclear power plants on a fault line! Thanks Dominion. Thanks Imperial Clown Show.

  15. what some here may not know is what that “minor” quake did to the Louisa High School as well as many other structures in the area – all the way to I-95 , in fact where century old chimney’s came down. The High School in nearby Louisa was damaged so badly it had to be abandoned and a new one rebuilt.

    So when I hear that a strategic plan:

    1. – considers a new Nuke at North Anna

    2. – that we don’t want, nor need companies like Google and Apple considering doing business in Virginia because of their energy wants.

    I question if that plan is a serious plan for the next two or three decades for Virginia and really not even our grid .. I do not think Dominions apparent strategic plan is one that is good for Virginia and the VSCC and the GA seem to think Dominion’s Plan is the right one for Virginia.

    It’s not. It’s not only anti-renwables, it’s anti-business for 21st century companies.

    and I agree with T-bill. not sure where Jim got his cost data

    • Larry writes, “We don’t want, nor need companies like Google and Apple considering doing business in Virginia because of their energy wants.”

      The statement is nonsensical. The fact that Virginia doesn’t impose a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) does not imply that we “don’t want” Amazon, Google or data centers that prefer to use green energy. Imposing an RPS doesn’t make Virginia any more inviting to those companies than not having an RPS. Companies are free to use any kind of energy they want. If they’re willing to freely pay more money for green electricity in Virginia, there is nothing to stop them!

      Not everyone has the same business model as Amazon, and some companies may be either (a) more sensitive to the price of electricity or (b) less sensitive to the blandishments of the green lobby. They may have very legitimate reasons for preferring cheap energy. By your astounding logic, you “don’t want” manufacturing, data centers or other energy-intensive industries. Actually, that statement makes more sense that yours did because you’re perfectly happy to impose an RPS and higher rates on those that don’t want them. But nobody’s imposing anything on Amazon.

      • Companies are going to go to the states that are attentive to their needs.

        Bacon seems to have a “let them eat cake” attitude..

        I’m not advocating RPS here.. I’m advocating that the state pay attention to what high tech companies want and need and not let Dominion prioritize Dominion’s wants and needs over other economic development.

        we don’t do manufacturing Jim – we do the knowledge economy.

        we’re letting Dominion essentially decide if GOOGLE is going to come to Va or go to other states.

  16. More fact checking, and I had to go the extra “mile” on this one.

    Something appears wrong with the EIA (DoE) electric cost data for California (13.5 cents/kWhr). My plug-in vehicle friends in Ca., many of whom have home roof-top solar installed, assure me that Ca. retail electric rates approach 25 cents kWhr for many consumers. In Ca. there is a Tier-1,2,3,4 structure whereas Tier-1 pays 12 cents/kWhr for the first little tidbit of power used. After that the cost quickly escalates to among the highest in the nation. It seems the EIA is quoting Tier-1 which unfortunately gives the mistaken impression that California has installed many renewables and at the same time charging very low electric rates, but it’s not true.

    By the way, Ca. does import a lot of cheap hydro from Washington and other states, so if California were “on its own” the price picture would be even more expensive than 25 cents/kWhr. And no I do not drive an EV (Prius here).

    • the other thing to notice about California:

      1. – it has some of the lowest per capita energy use per capita

      2. – it still has the 8th largest economy in the world for those who believe
      expensive electricity harms economic development.

      people and companies learn to use energy more efficiently – and to not let electricity become the sole driver for where they locate. California apparently has many other things going for it that attracts economic development.

      • Is California more energy efficient just due to climate (no winter) or is there something else going on? I would think they put on as many auto miles on as the next state. First time I am hearing expensive electricity is desirable to stimulate industry. Although clearly it stimulates the roof-top solar industry. That and millions of Federal subsidies.

        • per capita energy use is far less than other Southern States.. including Texas.. and if you plot electricity price verses consumption – the correlation is strong.

          expensive electricity obviously is not a draw … but it’s not the only issue for a lot of companies -either – especially if they can managed the electricity use.

          efficiency systems – nothing to do with solar -everything to do with less electricity use – are big business … for industry.. schools, Walmarts, etc…

          I think our local school system replaced all their lights with LEDs for a million plus dollars – … and the company that installed them provided a guaranteed bond that their electricity use would pay for the lights in 3 years.. I believe..

          transportation ? cars have become so efficient – the gas tax as a funder of highways has collapsed. Companies that use trucks use logistics supply from GPS to how the trucks are loaded to how trips are scheduled.

          You may have noticed that now – tractor trailers serve McDonalds and 7-11s, They not unload the entire truck.. they unloading stacked deliveries… but the point is that they’re using the 18-wheelers – not smaller delivery trucks – that are more fuel efficient. Why are they using 18-wheelers instead? Is has to do with the the use of information technology and logistics management…

          the point ? that saving energy is big business… big economic development… all that technology – provides jobs.. software.. facilities, etc…

  17. “If I have the time, I will press Dominion on its approach to the smart grid. But there’s so much pressing news, and I have only so much time in a sponsorship that is the functional equivalent of a part-time job, that I cannot get to everything all at once.”

    Well, Boo-hoo! I don’t get a freaking dime for what I write, not that you give a damn.

  18. anywhere you site a Combined cycle gas plant -is a place where wind and solar can be co-located

    The gas plant can easily be modulated in response to the variability of the – on-site wind/solar.

    Dominion could meet the RPS without breaking a sweat…

    All the road, powerline, rail and other rights-of-way could be wind/solar locations like spokes on a wheel with the gas plant the hub.

    I wonder if, in fact, Dominion is already pursuing this:

    ” Dominion Virginia Power filed an application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission on January 20, 2015 to build a 20-megawatt solar project on approximately 125 acres of land owned by the company near the Remington Power Station in Fauquier County. The facility would contain approximately 90,000 photovoltaic panels. Remington Solar would be Virginia’s first large scale solar facility.

    Remington Power Station, located on 508 acres in Remington, Virginia, produces enough electricity to power about 145,000 homes, using natural gas as its primary fuel.

    Remington consists of four combustion turbine generating units that began commercial service in 2000.

  19. and this is curious

    Dominion seeking solar power proposals

    Dominion Virginia Power said it will consider proposals larger than 20 megawatts if a company can finish it in 2016 or 2017 and also interconnect with the PJM grid

    http://www.richmond.com/business/article_1a79a228-c7de-5ea7-802a-7a9702239df4.html

    connect to the PJM grid?

    what does that mean? anyone know?

    is there a separate PJM grid in some parts of Virginia?

    I admit ignorance on this aspect. and would welcome some education from those who know.

  20. Dominion wants to connect to the PJM grid (which interconnects with other utilities in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest) in order to sell excess solar power. Green power sells for a premium price.

    • but WHERE are the PJM connections?

    • I’m confused as to whether or not DOminion owns and operates the grid in Va including the places where folks would “connect” or PJM has some kind of ownership or authority in certain places..

      or what?

      when Dominion says connect to a PJM.. do they mean certain geographic locations or what?

  21. On the subject of comparing Virginia and California energy efficiency. Northern California has a natural advantage — it has milder temperatures. (That’s not true of all of California). But the point is, different geographic areas have different numbers of degree days, or temperature variations from the standards of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are the numbers for Richmond and San Francisco over the past 12 months:

    Richmond
    Heating degree days — 4,048
    Cooling degree days — 1,818
    Total degree days: 5,866

    SF
    Heating degree days — 2,116
    Cooling degree days — 563
    Total: 2,679

    Richmonders have twice as much heating and cooling to do as San Francisco. Therefore, all other things being equal, one would expect Richmonders to expend considerably more money per capita on heating and cooling.

    How does that translate to state data? Hard to say. San Francisco’s climate is not typical of all of California, while Richmond’s climate is pretty typical of Virginia’s as a whole. But the bottom line is this: Virginia probably has more heating and cooling to do than California does. Any comparison of electricity efficiency should take that factor into account.

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