Why Dominion Sees Growing Electricity Demand in the 15-Year Future

electricity_demandby James A. Bacon

One of the more controversial forecasts contained in Dominion Virginia Power’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is a projection that average electricity demand and peak demand in its service territory will increase at an annual rate of 1.5% annually over the next 15 years. If that forecast pans out, demand will outstrip the company’s 12.5% reserve margin when the current round of building projects is complete around 2021, and would create a supply shortage of 4.6 million megawatts by 2031 if no new capacity were added.

Setting aside questions of whether or not Dominion should include more renewable energy in its generation mix, environmentalists find the growth forecast problematic, arguing that electricity consumption is decoupling from economic growth nationally as new technologies become available, industries invest more capital in energy-efficiency, and some states adopt policies that promote efficiency.

I am agnostic on the issue but I believe this is one of the most important debates taking place in the electricity policy arena today. A higher demand forecast would justify a bigger investment by Dominion and Virginia’s other electric utilities, Appalachian Power and the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, in new generating capacity. A lower demand forecast would support a more constrained approach to capital spending. The debate also raises the question of whether Virginia’s power companies should be moving more aggressively to implement energy-efficiency measures.

With this blog post I present the findings from Dominion’s 2016 IRP. I think it’s fair to say that Dominion has spent more man-hours and more dollars analyzing electricity demand in Virginia than anyone else. That’s not to say its forecasts are more reliable. Dominion concedes the enormous uncertainty regarding Clean Power Plant regulation, and the company may have institutional biases favoring faster demand growth. But it’s the best analysis we’ve got at the moment. I summarize Dominion’s discussion with the aim of stimulating discussion.

Dominion’s econometric model utilizes hourly DOM Zone data — the DOM Zone is the PJM Interconnection-designated zone inside which there are relatively few transmission constraints) and simulates both time-trend variables (electricity demand over time) and weather variables such as wind speed, cloud cover and precipitation. The model factors in time of day, day of week, holidays and seasonal effects, as well as unusual events such as hurricanes.

dom_zone_peak

Graphic credit: Dominion. Click for larger image.

Overall, Dominion’s service territory is a summer-peaking zone, meaning that the highest demand is normally experienced during the summer. However, Dominion also has a weaker, winter peak, which on rare occasions such as the polar vortex a couple of years ago, is stronger than the summer.

While electricity demand has slowed in some sectors as energy-efficiency makes inroads, Dominion expects growing consumption in other areas — PCs, laptops, tablets and other digital devices; electric vehicles (primarily during evening hours); and data centers.  Consolidating data storage in hyper-efficient cloud facilities work to reduce overall overall demand, but the trend displaces consumption from scattered locations in the East Coast to Northern Virginia, which may be the most competitive location in the world for data storage due to its access to high-capacity fiber cable. While data centers do not create many jobs, economic developers like them because their enormous capital investment in servers contributes millions of dollars in local government tax revenue.

Moreoever, the Virginia economy is more dynamic than the national average. Going forward,” states the IRP, “the Virginia economy is expected to rebound considerably within the Planning Period. The 2015 Budget Bill approved by the President and the U.S. Congress has significantly increased the level of federal defense spending for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, which should benefit the Virginia economy.” All other things being equal, a more vibrant economy means higher electricity consumption.

Dominion makes its 1.5%-per-year forecast despite committing to a 2007 Electric Utility Reregulation Act goal of reducing retail electricity consumption by 10% (based on 2006 consumption levels).

To advance that goal, the company has put into place energy-efficiency measures ranging from air conditioner recycling and residential low-income energy assistance to demand-response tariffs for households using smart meters. Also, to curb increases in peak demand, Dominion has instituted a Standby Generation rate schedule providing incentives for businesses to switch to backup generators if demand is overwhelming supply. The size of the standby program is relatively small, however. According to an IRP table, there were 16 events in the summer of 2015 and 12 in the winter, reducing demand by on average by two megawatts. (That compares to about 24,400 megawatts of generating capacity across the utility’s fleet.)

comparative_costs

In the chart above, Dominion displays its calculations of how much various energy-efficiency and alternative-energy programs will cost on a per-megawatt of power conserved or generated. In many cases, the energy-efficiency programs provide the most bang for the buck. But they are limited in scale.

Moreover, it is difficult to calculate the benefits of investments in energy efficiency, states the IRP, because the pilot programs are under-enrolled and small numbers make it difficult to extrapolate to a larger scale. The analysis for one program showed a negative impact on consumption from an energy-efficiency program, while another suggested that for every 1% increase in the price of electricity, household cut consumption by 0.75%. The company considered both to be outliers. More typical is a finding that  1% increase in price leads to a 0.1% cut in consumption  — a ten-to-one ratio.

Despite the uncertainties, Dominion stated in its “short term action plan” that it will “continue to implement cost-effective DSM programs in Virginia and North Carolina.”

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40 responses to “Why Dominion Sees Growing Electricity Demand in the 15-Year Future

  1. All well and good BUT ….

    VA has 21MW of installed solar. North Carolina has 100 times that amount and CA 600+ times, or 13,241MWs. All that on-site solar reduces grid demand. It also means we need to redefine our utility structure.

    PJM’s New England and NY markets will cut about 1,400 megawatts (MW) from their wholesale electricity generators by 2019, saving them – and their customers – a “whopping $2 billion each year.” The increase in electricity supply provided by new on-site solar generation, and the resulting reduction in grid demand, is a good deal for everyone. However, it sure looks like Dominion’s ‘old’ way of doing business will cost VA.

    Here is a write-up about DER changing utilities. The article goes on to discuss a utility/policy planning process and to talk about CA and NY, the first states to really redefine their utility’s futures.

    ………..

    Rapid improvements in advanced energy technologies, increased customer adoption of distributed energy resources (DER), and changing public policy goals are driving change in our electric grid. Utilities historically have not taken DER – such as solar PV, demand response, energy efficiency, energy storage, or electric vehicles (EVs) – into consideration in their resource planning. The result is a business-as-usual resource plan, as if no DER were deployed. Cost savings in utility distribution system spending may be going unrealized because of excess capacity or because of investments in equipment for grid services that could be provided by DER at a lower cost. Getting utilities to consider DER in competition with traditional investments can lead to a more flexible, reliable, resilient, and clean grid, all while saving money for customers. The question is: how to do it?

    In order for DER to support rather than stress our electric grid, policymakers and utilities should change how utilities undertake distribution system planning. This means building a system that can integrate increasing penetrations of DER, developing a regulatory structure that properly values and compensates DER, and providing access to information that would lead to DER deployment in the most high-value areas.

    This is not entirely virgin territory: Some best practices are described in: Distribution Systems In A High Distributed Energy Resources Future by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL); More Than Smart: A Framework to Make the Distribution Grid More Open, Efficient and Resilient by the Resnick Institute; and Planning the Distributed Energy Future by Black & Veatch and SEPA.

    The future includes looking at demand in a very different way!

    • CA&W: I have a lot more to read in the Dominion IRP, but I am more familiar with the PJM 15-year load forecast (which includes Dominion’s territory as one component) and it explicitly considers the effect of distributed energy resources (DER or DG) (see Tables B-7 through B-9 at the link posted in my comment below) on overall generation requirements and on transmission adequacy. You are correct, it’s up to Dominion’s planners to consider the effect of DG on lower-voltage distribution facilities adequacy. In the short term, however, DG has little effect on distribution wires, switchgear, transformers and substations because they are still required for the grid’s backup function at night, cloudy/windless days, etc. My understanding is, the only change required is to accommodate 2-way flow over the distribution elements of the grid, which is not that difficult to do if planned for over sufficient time. In the long term, if DG back-feeding into the grid runs up against distribution sizing limitations, it will affect distribution planning, of course; but we are a long way from that state of affairs.

  2. Dominion’s three retail electric subsidiaries operate within PJM, which is the independent system operator across Virginia and north and west into Pennsylvania and Illinois. To put this in perspective, Dominion’s peak load in 2015 was 18,980 MW, which is 13.2 % of PJM’s total load of 143,447 MW. Because the short term reliability of the grid is PJM’s responsibility, PJM also prepares its own independent load forecast for the entire PJM region and each “zone” within the region. It’s a public document; here is a link to the PJM 15-year load forecast for 2016: http://www.pjm.com/~/media/documents/reports/2016-load-report.ashx

    The PJM forecast is fascinating because it gives you a side-by-side look at PJM’s forecast for Dominion and for all the other utilities in the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West. One thing immediately leaps out at you: Dominion has one of the highest projected growth rates of any utility in PJM. Another is this: the annual increase in the summer peak for Dominion is forecast by PJM to be quite high for the next four summers, then to drop off to 1.0% or less for the next 11 years for an average, in PJM’s view, in the 1.2-1.1% range. Another notable prediction is that Dominion will have one of the highest growth rates for distributed solar (it’s forecast to have 1/4 of the PJM total amount 15 years from now).

    It’s interesting to compare the explanations of future electricity consumption set out in these two documents. Thank you, Jim, for focusing us on the issue.

  3. I too would thank Jim for addressing this issue and I’d add this :

    to provide some context – and acknowledge that DVP service area probably is the area in Va that would be expected to grow.

    but I think it’s also important to recognize what kinds of loads that DVP is projecting – i.e. peak loads vs base load.

    I still remain not a trusting person of DVP’s claims – and take an approach like Acbar – of comparing and contrasting other industry players projections – like PJM.

    In part because – DVP basically can screw up on projections and because they are a monopoly – shift the risk of stranded generation to ratepayers.

    that means to me that one should take whatever DVP is selling with a grain of salt – especially when they start talking about a 3rd Nuke at North Anna.

    OTOH – to be be fair – very few people in Va are willing to advocate for any plan that would result in degraded reliability – although DVP might want to get into the backup generator business… as more and more commercial, industrial and residential customers are installing them because weather seems more volatile these days and most folks don’t want to go more than a few minutes without power.

    Finally -if the price of electricity goes up -it will result in less consumption – that’s a fairly typical outcome – that can be verified by looking at places like California and Europe, Japan, etc.

    So I guess I don’t put a whole lot of stock in a DVP-only projection without other more objective supporting analyses…. and no I don’t trust the SCC either as I think they’ve been effectively co-opted by DVP and partisans in the GA … I trust PJM, the Southern Environmental Law Center , the UVA folks who did the more honest CPP analysis.

    DVP could be a more trust-worthy player and I hope they do but given the current shenanigans with CPP, ACP, Surry, golf trips for DEQ, and Coal Ash – it don’t look too promising.

    • LarryG, perhaps we should not trust just one forecast, or even two; but wouldn’t we be damned fools if the forecasts came true and we weren’t prepared. Having too much capacity is a waste of money; having too little would cripple the Mid-Atlantic economy big-time! So I think it’s important to read the assumptions reflected in these forecasts and compare them and critique them and treat them as a warning to get ready, bearing in mind the extraordinary cost to all of us of taking too cavalier an approach to what they forecast. Electric generation — even DG — is a long lead time item.

      • @Acbar – well it’s a conundrum – you have to trust the folks doing the forecast.

        right?

        I don’t get a fuzzy warm feeling reading the IRP , myself… I’d feel a whole lot better if DVP footnoted their claims and provided other supporting references – beyond their own claims – which strike me as a bit too self-serving – and too willing to play the ” we’re all gonna die if we don’t have enough capacity” card.

        When I see DVP use PJM as their supporting evidence, I’ll take notice.

  4. Load forecasting is difficult business. Utilities always tend to overestimate load growth because they can’t afford to be caught short of capacity. It is one of their sacred rules. They are granted monopoly status in exchange for a reliable and “fairly priced” supply of electricity. The price of overcapacity is borne by the ratepayer. Utility executives and shareholders will pay dearly if they are ever caught short. So they continue to build.

    It continues to amaze me that after following and being involved in the “doing more with less” approach of the high tech sector that our energy industry has been so slow to follow suit. Obviously, Moore’s Law does not apply in the same way to electrical generation, but the smaller, cheaper, better mindset could be adopted by the energy industry if the regulatory structure supported it.

    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that nationwide electricity usage has fallen by 1.1% in the last year, in a time of economic growth. In fact, U.S. electricity consumption has been level or declining in 5 of the last 8 years, while each of those eight years were times of GDP growth.

    I understand the growth of data centers, etc., but our growth in demand, such as it is, might be more a sign of inefficient usage than of sparkling economic vitality. California creates two times the state domestic product of Virginia per unit of electricity consumed. They have higher electric rates with lower residential utility bills.

    Utilities have token energy efficiency and demand response programs that focus primarily on the residential sector. The high payback energy efficiency projects are in the government, commercial and industrial sectors. Although, industry has been investing in energy efficiency for quite some time. The opportunities for distributed solar are also greatest in these areas. Energy efficiency and distributed generation are mostly ignored by utilities because they have a disincentive to promote it. It cuts into their revenues which, with our current rate structures, is the only mechanism for them to get paid for what they have already built.

    Government, commercial and industrial energy efficiency is far cheaper than any source of new generation, is available 24/7/365 and lowers both peak capacity requirements and total energy usage. Everybody wins with energy efficiency, except the utility. That must be changed.

    In order to avoid an avalanche of fossil-fired power plants and their attendant gas pipelines, Massachusetts has set a statewide goal of 30% of their energy to be supplied by energy efficiency by 2020. They are asking Massachusetts utilities to invest a little over $2 billion in order for their customers to save over $6 billion, while reducing demand.

    This is possible here in Virginia if we adjusted our rate structure and reset the role of our utilities.

    Jim is right to focus attention on this issue, for it is what drives the IRP process. The constant progression of projects comes from the perceived need to close a forecasted future gap between supply and demand. We have done it only one way for over 100 years. It’s time we investigated other ways of doing it.

    Utilities aren’t infallible and times change. While I was gearing up my department to do the site selection and environmental studies necessary to license a new 2400 MW power plant, I was told by the head of our forecasting department that there was an “incontrovertible need” for this new facility. After several years of studies, millions spent, and great anxiety on the part of people whose communities would be drastically altered, the New York State Public Service Commission said that there was no proven need for the new plant and cancelled the licensing proceeding at the outset. Yet the ratepayers were stuck with the costs, because we had proceeded in the conventional way and deserved to recover our costs.

    The possible growth in demand and the many different methods of dealing with it should be a major topic of discussion in the IRP. And we should get outside of the traditional box of the IRP process to discuss the mechanisms for maintaining financially healthy utilities while lowering demand.

    • TomH – How much of California’s energy conservation success is related to its basic Mediterranean climate where the bulk of the population resides? Virginia is not North Dakota, but we have a lot of cold and hot & humid weather to address.

      • TMT – I’m not terribly familiar with California’s summer and winter peaks, but if I were to guess, I would think that their summer peak is far higher than their winter peak. In the Southeast the summer and winter peaks are not too different. Having two fairly similar peaks allows a utility to use their generating stations at a much higher annual capacity factor, which is an advantage to a utility. That is why utilities in the southeast have rates slightly below the national average, although Virginia’s have been a bit above our 4 or 5 closest neighbors. Most other regions have a significantly higher peak in one season whether it is winter or summer.

        My guess is that California has had building codes that required more energy efficiency at the time of initial construction for some time. If everyone has to do it, the playing field is level for all contractors and developers. Plus their rates have been higher than many states for several decades so that has encouraged energy efficiency and demand response.

        California does have access to hydro from Nevada and the Northwest that can help shave peak costs. We only have access to pumped storage which is much more expensive. Our top 100 hours of demand each year are probably quite expensive given that others in PJM are probably experiencing peaks about the same time and we use a lot of expensive peaking capacity during that time.

  5. Doesn’t the State of Virginia come out with a Virginia power outlook each year?

  6. I think the bottom line is that DVP is an investor-owned utility whose primary business is selling electricity – for a profit and who can build more plants that ratepayers will pay for rather than investors. Such excess plants will undoubtedly sell power to PJM for whatever it can bring rather than having to bring in a certain amount or be a loss.

    • Larry,

      The point I was trying to make is that we can shift Dominion’s role from one of selling electricity to one of providing the platform (transmission and distribution) whereby they and others can sell electricity and a variety of other services. Dominion can be can be more stable and prosperous in the long run, the state can offer lower energy costs and a vibrant, innovative business scene, and customers can have lower bills. It just requires a shift in thinking and regulatory structure. The other option is a slow, expensive decline into more of the same old responses that are proving to be less optimal solutions for our needs.

      More natural gas units available to PJM would offer some advantages to Dominion in the short term, until the price of natural gas goes up. Power from North Anna 3 might be hard to pass along though. The Greensville plant scheduled for operation in 2019 will cost $1.3 – $1.5 billion for 1600 MW. North Anna 3 is projected for 2030(?) at a cost that will be at least $20+ billion for 1500 MW.

      Dominion seems to be trying to gain approval for as much rate-based generating capacity as possible while the CPP is making approval easier and financing costs are low in order to gain a long-term stream of revenues. The strategy might work until gas prices rise and more energy efficiency and third-party solar displaces generation from these more expensive units. Then the ratepayers will have to pay “more for less” rather than my suggested “less for more” as the power plants have a lower capacity factor and the pipeline moves less gas.

      Power plants last 40-60 years and pipelines for 80-100 years. We will live with the consequences of these decisions for a long time. We should be very thorough in our analysis and have the wisdom to understand that the future is probably going to be quite different from the past. In the 1970’s and early 80’s few understood how different things would be over the next 30-40 years due to the innovations with computers and the internet. We have a similar possibility in front of us with energy innovation, if we allow it to come to fruition. Investments mostly in old technologies will diminish or foreclose the opportunities for new innovations to gain a foothold. We need a balance of many choices until we find the options that work the best and we can better see the way ahead.

      • Very good points; well said, TomH — especially your first & third paragraphs in latest response to Larry. Utilities are intensely risk averse and the risk is much greater if they are caught short, rather than long. I recited that “one of their sacred rules” simply because there is so much uncertainty about the different ways things could play out, especially with DG and energy efficiency, that there’s a temptation to simply say “Dominion you’re too damned pessimistic” without examining carefully their data and their lead times to license/build if they aren’t. We should not dismiss their forecast lightly. But, Larry, you are right to be skeptical.

        Your point, TomH, about DOM wanting to build now while the cost of money is low and the CPP creates an excuse, strikes me as right on target with Dominion. And your earlier point about government/commercial/industrial energy efficiency also — though I tend to think the resistance there is as much cultural with the customers as it is with Dominion. We need more third parties out there selling energy efficiency in central VA for the cost savings that’s immediately available. And while I get the impression DVP doesn’t have many obstacles to energy efficiency in its retail tariff, there are a lot of co-ops in Virginia (see Larry’s chart above) whose territory embraces some large installations and whose retail practices are far from as enlightened as DVP (isn’t that saying something!).

        As for “shift Dominion’s role from one of selling electricity to one of providing the platform (transmission and distribution) whereby they and others can sell electricity and a variety of other services”: that’s the philosophy that sold regulators north of here on retail access and the creation and expansion of PJM the ISO; and for a while the SCC was on board also, as the original retail access statute in Virginia demonstrated. Dominion was a reluctant convert to PJM; they joined only because the SCC as well as FERC put pressure on them to get with an ISO and there really wasn’t a viable southern alternative and MISO was too remote. Dominion’s subsequent support for restricting retail access in Virginia is now enshrined in statutes the GA passed overwhelmingly and has shown no inclination to undo; the SCC took notice. There’s also strong support in the GA for Dominion to spend construction dollars and hire employees in Virginia.

        But there is still room for the SCC to press Dominion to do much more with its regional PJM platform and less with rate-basing its own new locally-built generation. I still think that Remington Solar order was a shot across DVP’s bow and indicates a willingness on the SCC’s part to reject Dominion’s IRP construction proposals where third-party and PJM market alternatives are cost competitive (let alone, haven’t even been evaluated). The SCC’s order this coming December on Dominion’s latest IRP and the future of NA3 will tell us a lot more.

        • Acbar,

          Thanks for your excellent insights. I do agree that there is customer resistance with utility demand side management programs. Several studies have shown that this often relates to issues of trust. Utilities with higher customer trust levels usually have greater success with DSM programs. This is why third parties, who are often more responsive and more tuned into customer needs, have greater success with these programs.

          I would love to know who within Dominion is studying the progress being made in NY, Massachusetts and other states in creating 21st century energy systems. It would be great to have a conversation with them to understand what they believe would work best for Dominion. It would be wonderful to have a small collaborative group with varied interests and backgrounds begin to explore a better way of doing things. We need healthy utilities that are paid to do things that are important to customers. It’s not healthy in the long run for Dominion to set the interests of the shareholders against the interests of their customers. I would think there is enough creativity in this state to find a way that would be good for all concerned.

    • Yes and not only that, Dominion is trying to keep the North Anna 3 project on the books. It would be “shocking” to not have a healthy rate growth projection.

  7. Ubiquity tends to falsely devalue critical assets.

    AIR, we take for granted. Yet without it, we short circuit. Then die in minutes. With it can we live, thrive, build wondrous civilizations.

    Today, without electricity, we short circuit too. Then die on a massive scale in hours. Irrevocably so in days.

    Electricity is wondrous, electricity is miraculous on a grand scale.

    Compare the world of humans, how they lived and died, before they found ways to harness electricity, to how we live today. Can we make that leap of imagination. Can we go back. I doubt it.

    Fortunately thus, electricity is incredibly cheap. Fortunately too, electricity is infinitely plentiful. Because its benefits to us today are incalculable. So cumulative, so exponential, and so off the charts, its beyond imagination, life without electicity.

    And we have only gotten started. The sky is the limit.

    Thus the obsessive “Doing more with less” approach is the reverse of a future, just another dead end flat earth doomsday scenario.

    • Reed,

      I wasn’t proposing to send us back to the dark ages or to live a life of sacrifice and deprivation. I was trying to compare a possible future with electricity to today’s experience with a laptop weighing a few pounds, but having the computing power equivalent to what filled a large room several decades ago, costing many times more.

      Most people forget that we don’t really need electricity or gas. What we really need is comfort: to be cool when it is warm, warm when it is cool, and to have light when it is dark. Recently, electricity and gas have been the easiest way to provide that comfort. But imagine a combination of energy efficiency, traditional generation and perhaps some nearby solar generation providing the same or greater comfort with less electricity or natural gas required, less expensively, more cleanly with less external costs. This is what I intend to portray by saying “doing more with less”. I think it is more forward looking, more efficient, and better for both the providers and the consumers in the long run.

      • I appreciate your view of “less is more.”

        Indeed, I often with many issues agree with that ethic intellectually, aesthetically, spiritually. Thus, as someone who devoted many years of his life to climbing mountains (in all its iterations), I learned to deeply appreciate the value of the less is more ethic on all those levels when playing that game (intellectual, aesthetic, spiritual) as well as its important application in the practical living of one’s life ethically and well on a daily basis.

        That said, there is a important and fine balance of interests when one draws lines and takes actions on “less is more.” That is why I added the critical qualifier “Obsessive” that often turns virtue to vice. I’ve seen people die crossing that difficult line.

        One stopper to the zealot, ideologue, true believer, adrenaline junkie, or those overly driven by negative emotion is of course perspective. Ubiquity of the modern sort destroys perspective. That’s what I am getting at. And certain things, however frustrating to the prophet, demand a higher than normal level of caution and prudence than other things people do and are responsible for.

        • Well said. Energy plays such a central role in our society today, we must be cautious and prudent in our decisions regarding it. Utilities are properly cautious in assuring that we have an adequate supply of electricity. But caution and habit can also become blinders that obscure from view other options that might provide better solutions.

          If we can remove the labels, lenses and preconceived notions in order to have a civil discourse, we often find we can agree on a few central principles that most of us share.

          It is frustrating to be in a utility doing your best to fulfill what you believe is your mandate to provide sufficient energy only to have many groups opposed to your arduously developed plans. Extremism in defense of any position can become a vice.

          We have a opportunity to join together in the spirit of statesmanship and community good to explore more fruitful alternatives. We cannot abandon the chance because we feel it is impossible or too hard. We must adopt the broader perspective that you mention and consult the better angels of our nature to find higher ground instead of the lowest common denominator.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            It should also be noted that we are very rapidly approaching a time, indeed likely we have almost surely already reached a time, when the security threat to these power generation assets are at already grave and ever increasing risk. Hence their defense and resilience to present and future attack are of overriding importance. This includes how we plan and build right now and for the future in light of these new rapidly emerging issues that should trump all other considerations.

            Thus the judging of these matters and how we properly address them will require a whole new paradigm whether we like it or not. Or we likely will pay terrible consequences if we do not.

  8. sure wish I could figure out how to get my avatar to appear like Acbar did.

    😉

    re: less and more

    I’m surprised at Reed. more for less is the very core of conservatism … and the marketplace!

    it’s the very basis of productivity! All of us should want more for less! It’s downright UnAmerican not to!

    • Try reading above the 5th grade level. See it that clarifies the matter for you.

      • “. But imagine a combination of energy efficiency, traditional generation and perhaps some nearby solar generation providing the same or greater comfort with less electricity or natural gas required, less expensively, more cleanly with less external costs”

        right? agree? makes good sense… win-win-win

        • Indeed, Nirvana! It’s interesting to compare what you said, “providing the same or greater comfort with less electricity or natural gas required, less expensively, more cleanly with less external costs,” with the way Dominion describes the goal of its IRP: “As with prior filings, the Company’s objective was to identify the mix of resources necessary to meet its customers’ projected energy and capacity needs in an efficient and reliable manner at the lowest reasonable cost, while considering future uncertainties.”

          You both would seek lower/lowest cost and greatest efficiency. Dominion’s commitment is open-ended, to supply whatever the customer wants and adds reliability and future uncertainties as considerations; you limit yours to the same or greater level of comfort. In general, the same goal.

          The problem of course is how to get there.

          • I don’t see a perfect equivalency between the two. Dominion speaks only in terms of providing more energy and building more capacity. For example, their directive would tell them if the price of natural gas went to $6 mcf, they would have fulfilled their goal by providing adequate supplies of gas to make electricity at $6 mcf rather than $6.10.

            The principles I suggested would have instead replaced the need for new sources of electricity through energy efficiency and provided a greater share with solar whenever possible. This provides the same comfort but at a far lower cost to the ratepayer. Dominion could win in this scenario too, but they would have to be paid differently.

    • L, go to Gravatar.com and register there, WordPress is automatically linked and uses the photo you associate with your primary email address in your gravatar profile. You can turn the photo on or off, or change it, only in gravatar.com

      Now, you can tell us how you manage to get .jpg images into your commcnts . . . for example, I’ve copied the same link you inserted at the top of these comments — :

      . . . but when I do that, the link won’t post.

      • Update for Larry: in the process of trying to post the text of the link you used earlier, I succeeded in posting the target myself! Ahah, so now I see . . . simpler than seemed possible, and no carets required. Now, how about those emoticons . . .

  9. Re: “One stopper to the zealot, ideologue, true believer, adrenaline junkie, or those overly driven by negative emotion is of course perspective.” Let’s hear it for perspective!!

  10. never realized that mountain climbing was so…..so…. complicated!

  11. nor, paddling off into the sunset . . . .

  12. well I put the picture at gravatar but no dice as you can see

  13. One of the most remarkable things about our times is the growing numbers of people here in America who enjoy remarkable comfort and apparent bullet proof security and have done so throughout their lives, yet have done nothing of consequence in their lives to earn that security and comfort.

    They have suffered no devastating setback, felt no great loss, lived with no intense pain, encountered no great test, and hence have taken no risk, answered no difficult challenge, overcome no great obstacle, or stood up at great cost against any strong tide, trend or popular opinion, often because they never have had to overcome adversity or do anything of consequence. Thus they have contributed nothing of consequence, yet have enjoyed the remarkable privilege of living in an era where they can live as if there is no history, no accounting, or consequence to what they say and do, or fail to say or do, or have said and done or failed to do in the past, indeed at any point in their entire life. These are people living in the bubble, people who’ve so far lived without ever having touched down onto the earth.

    Such privileged lives for ever more of our people quickly breeds remarkable ignorance on a mass scale, especially so among many within allegedly the most educated segments of our population. This of course is a perennial problem, one with ebbs and flows. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Saint Augustine and Boethius righted remarkably big and long lasting ships. This ebb and flow of civilizations has been going on since recorded time.

    Most recently here and now for the past several decades, we’ve been traveling toward what Andrew Grove if alive would likely call a strategic inflection point on an immense scale. We pick up speed the closer we get to this massive inflection point.

    The signs are growing, popping up everywhere. This includes signs popping up among seemingly highly disparate and unconnected places. This evidences a vast and growing change spreading an underlying instability across and beneath our world on many levels. Acbar discerns an unusual sense of indecision within a recent Dominion Report. This is often a sign of serious people sensing circumstances growing out of alignment with current means and ways of achieving success before. It’s a good sign, this sensibility critical to informed action. The alternative is refusal of see, or act.

    • You are an excellent observer of the signs of the times, guided by the lessons of history. Although I have spent much time in the company of engineers, my training is in the life sciences. Natural systems provide valuable lessons in the design of our human schemes.

      We have indeed experienced many ebbs and flows of cultures and empires. The decline usually begins with the erosion of a society’s fertile soil followed by a debasement of their currency. We are well along that path.

      A study of systems would advise us to increase our diversity of options and shorten our response time when entering a period of increasing uncertainty. Instead we cling to traditional responses that have long lead times and even longer spans needed to pay for them whether or not they continue to be appropriate to our needs.

      As we encounter the stress of uncertainty, we freeze up, our minds seize on the tried and true (what worked well in different circumstances) rather than becoming more nimble and innovative. Necessity is supposed to be the Mother of Invention rather than the Father of Fossilization.

      • The rapidly accelerating development of incredible new technologies are washing away old time tested assumptions, limitation and methods. Thus space, time, and distance are yet again collapsing, altering reality.

        The means and cost of R and D as well as the quick, efficient, precise and cheap manufacture and assembly of otherwise complex or highly advanced products as well as their storage and distribution, transport and deployment, and command and control, are being reinvented on a vast and revolutionary scale. This is happening whether that product be miniaturized, simplified, amplified and/or energized exponentially by a host of new technologies. Such as, for one of many examples, built in artificial sensibilities that reinvent delivery systems or magnify awareness, identification, and decision making, or manufacture by remote control. Applications of cross technologies are going through the roof.

        You’re right. The nimble and quick but very wise will rule our future.

      • “You are … guided by the lessons of history. Although I have spent much time in the company of engineers, my training is in the life sciences. Natural systems provide valuable lessons in the design of our human schemes.”

        Yes, it is remarkable how in times of great disruptive change (what Andrew Grove called Strategic Inflection Points), how forces at work within the hard and applied sciences (engineering etc.) mix with forces at play within (and understood through) the liberal arts com-bust to produce the disruptions. Those who best recognize and parse and appreciate these combinations of forces also typically best manage the results they produce. Earnest King is a stunning example, among many other under appreciated leaders.

  14. Pingback: South Carolina bill would curtail coal ash lawsuits | Southeast Energy News

  15. The challenge for capitalism is that the things that breed trust also breed the environment for fraud. And Amazon happens to be the best example.

    Amazon maybe the ecommerce giant with wide-ranging investment interests but as far as its social responsibilities are concerned it appears too inconsiderate and insensitive. Amazon is not willing to comply with the legal directives issued by Virginia’s Corporation Commission Staff. According to which Dominion’s proposed power line to Haymarket is for a single customer – Amazon Data Center – and it is this customer who is liable to pay for the line extension, and that placing the 230 KV extension partially underground is the least damaging for the environment and for the residents who live within this area.

    Based on the evaluations of SCC Staff, Dominion Power was unable to justify the need for the project without the Customers request for service to the Haymarket Project. The Staff also emphasized on the fact that the line extension may be viewed as an extension of electrical service to a new customer, therefore, may be subject to cost allocations. According to SCC Staff report, Amazon may have to pay the excess cost, estimated at $115 million.

    To know more on this need versus greed battle between the residents of Haymarket area and the ecommerce giant Amazon, follow our website and social links:

    http://www.dominionpower.tv/current-news/
    https://twitter.com/tv_dominion
    https://www.facebook.com/Dominionpowertv-492554900933412

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