Bacon Bits: Numerological Edition

$6.5 billion. That’s how much Dominion Energy estimates it will cost Virginia ratepayers if the state signs up with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program designed to reduce CO2 emissions. The utility said it would have to shutter four coal-fired power plants and replace their generating capacity with additional solar, natural gas, and/or possibly a pump-storage facility in Tazewell County, reports the Daily Press. The figure exceeds the $3.3-$5.9 billion previously estimated by State Corporation Commission staff, and conflicts with arguments by others that under the RGGI electric bills actually would go down.

Thirty percent. That is the percentage of police-involved-shooting incidents that local police and sheriffs departments failed to report to the Virginia State Police for compilation on its annual Crime in Virginia reports, concludes the (Lynchburg) News & Advance in an investigation of the data since mid-2016. (In the 2018 Crime in Virginia report, state police listed 28 state-involved shootings.) Law enforcement officials attributed the missing data to routine errors and confusion over recent changes in reporting requirements. Civil rights advocates want to expand the data reported to include the age, race, and gender of the victim.

14,000 acres. That’s how much farm and forest the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund (VFPF) has conserved since 2008. The Fund surpassed the 100th-tract mark this summer, an event that Gov. Ralph Northam celebrated with a visit to Messick’s Farm Market in Fauquier County last week, reports the Culpeper Star-Exponent. The governor touted the value role of conservation in promoting agriculture, tourism, and forestry, Virginia’s three largest industries. The VFPF has helped 16 local governments finance purchase-of-development rights for 102 easements on 13,917 acres. The purchases cost $32.8 million. The preservation fund provided $11.9 million; the rest came from local government and other sources.

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3 responses to “Bacon Bits: Numerological Edition

  1. RE: Thirty percent…..
    The law must be cleared up to include any time a police officer fires his/her sidearm/long gun AND must include
    1. How many shot were fired during the incident.
    2. How many shots hit the suspect.
    3. Where did the misses go.

    The VB shooting went on for a very long time… how many shots were fired by the suspect and the police? I have not seen that information.

  2. RE: $6.5 Billion

    Dominion’s numbers just don’t make sense. “America has officially entered the “coal cost crossover” – where existing coal is increasingly more expensive than cleaner Alternatives. Today, coal wind and solar can replace approximately 74% of the US coal fleet at an immediate savings to customers. By 2025 the number grows to 85% of the coal fleet.” (IEEFA) Incidentally, that estimate doesn’t include any offloaded costs like coal ash, or the health and environmental damage that can add between 9 and 27 cents to the cost of a kw/hr of coal electricity.

    A “Powering Down Coal” report says Dominion still has 12 coal units, none of which earns a profit. Maybe a reason to keep then running is that their asset cost is not fully written off, but utility commissions around the country are finding ways to work that out. In Virginia, where all but 1 of Dominion’s coal plants are more than 40 years old, it is hard to see asset write down as a very large problem.

    The report also points out that Dominion has not presented a planned schedule for the retirement of these money loosing plants. Their recommendation would be to close them all before 2024. Dominion’s claim of hardship for closing 4 of them is hard to understand, especially when the Yorktown plants are 60 years old and cost $95/MWhr to run. The rest of the units cost between $37 and $51 per MWhr.

    Finally, Dominion’s idea to build 7 new gas plants relates basically to creating a demand for the ACP. Those gas plants are designed to be ‘peakers’, I believe. There are lots of better ways to meet peak demand, starting with efficient buildings, demand response, or solarPV combined with offshore wind.

    Finally, the Tazewell County proposal is another boondoggle/asset builder for Dominion. The price of storage is dropping dramatically and storage units don’t endanger a beautiful countryside. We already have one of the largest pumped hydro facility in the country.

    Virginia is not doing her part for climate change emission reductions. This latest Dominion plan will make our efforts worse, not better, which seems to be a peculiar stance for a state with a shoreline that is one of the most vulnerable in the country.

    Methods to reduced demand, onsite or third party owned microgrids, and real demand response all need to be considered by Virginia. The structure of our electricity system is changing and we need to change with it. So far it ain’t happening.

  3. I’m skeptical of that $6.5 billion number also. But in any event the harm it does all depends on what Virginia (the GA) decides to do with the revenue, whatever it is. Put it in the General Fund and RGGI effectively becomes nothing but an additional tax on consumers. Use it to defray utility bills and it’s not so much harm as re-distribution. Still a valid question, “why bother?” I think Dominion’s reaction illustrates the impact RGGI can have on future generation construction and operation.

    It would be nice to see what’s in that $6.5 number. Does that include the entire capital cost of all the new power plants DE is claiming will be necessitated by the RGGI impact on coal consumption? Including the proposed new pumped storage plant which would be uneconomic to build today anyway you slice it? How much of that cost realistically would have been incurred anyway, and on what schedule anyway? The incremental cost of RGGI on Dominion’s integrated resource plan is nowhere near that much, I daresay.

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