Dominion Virginia Power filed an amicus brief Friday in the national lawsuit against the Clean Power Plan arguing that “compliance is feasible.”
While the brief wasn’t a full-throated endorsement of the Obama administration plan, Dominion, parent company of Dominion Virginia Power, did not join opponents in trying to derail it. The lawsuit, which challenges the constitutionality of the plan, is expected to be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Dominion’s view, reports Travis Fain with the Daily Press, Clean Power Plan rules are consistent with the industry shift, already underway, to replace coal with natural gas and renewable fuels. The state-by-state implementation created by the plan provides considerable flexibility. Wrote Dominion:
Petitioners suggest that the impacts of the rule will result in ‘higher rates and less reliable electricity’ for consumers. Because of the key compliance flexibilities highlighted above, Dominion does not agree that the Rule will necessarily result in such disruptive effects to the power sector and its consumers.
Bacon’s translation: Yes, the plan will cost Virginians billions of dollars to implement, but it will not impact the reliability of electric power.
Reading between the lines: The Clean Power Plan will not hurt Dominion Virginia Power, which has been repositioning itself away from coal for a decade now.
Dominion Resources, parent company of the regulated utility, has committed itself to a natural gas-oriented strategy, acquiring major gas pipeline assets in western states and proposing construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to markets in Virginia and North Carolina. Dominion Virginia Power also has moved aggressively to expand its portfolio of gas-fired power stations. Both the parent company and subsidiary have upped their commitment to renewable energy sources, though on a smaller scale.
Fain quotes Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) attorney Will Cleveland as saying that much of the work of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions at Virginia power plants is either done or is underway. “For them to say it publicly, I think, is great for the rule,” Cleveland said. “In many ways, I felt I could have written this brief.”
Virginia opposition to the plan has come mainly from Republicans, who (a) don’t share the underlying premise that the nation needs to restructure its electric power industry to combat the threat of climate change, and (b) are concerned about the impact on ratepayers and Virginia’s economic competitiveness. Dominion has studiously avoided entering the partisan fray.
Update: Here is a link to the amicus brief.
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