Site map for the first phase and cable connection route for the proposed Kitty Hawk Wind project.
by Steve Haner
The political leaders of the City of Virginia Beach have informed an offshore wind developer that they oppose its plan to bring power cables ashore at Sandbridge Beach. No formal vote was taken on the application, however, according to media reports.
The story appeared in The Virginian-Pilot and on local television station WAVY around Thanksgiving. When Bacon’s Rebellion last visited this matter, Virginia Beach City Council had conducted a May public hearing at which most speakers strongly opposed the power cable location.
European energy developer Avangrid controls the wind lease space off the shores of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, but the most efficient plan to bring power ashore brought the cables north to Sandbridge Beach in Virginia. The exact landing location proposed was under a city-owned parking lot that serves the commercial section of the popular beach neighborhood.
From there the cables would have run along mostly public highway right of way to connect with the main electrical grid. A similar plan to bring cables ashore from Dominion Energy Virginia’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project involves the state’s military reservation (no longer named for Confederate artillerist William Pendleton) so is not near commercial or residential properties. No similar local opposition has developed to CVOW’s cables.
The city leaders reportedly informed the developer of their stance in a private meeting and then later announced it. The company is free to continue to try to change minds, since no formal vote was taken, and also free to look for another route to the grid. Continue reading
by Bill O’Keefe
The Richmond Times-Dispatch meteorologist, Sean Sublett, recently wrote an article, “What to make of the National Climate Assessment.” He makes little of it in terms of analysis, and he reposts as if the assessment is primarily fact and not scientific speculation.
He provides almost nothing on the uncertainties that drive the National Assessment. The report treats uncertainties as scientific facts, and substantive information about the climate system is limited because uncertainties are not explicit. The long-range projections about temperature, sea-level rise, and extreme weather events are all the result of assumed emission scenarios and climate models that have proven to be too pessimistic. Since the climate is accepted as a chaotic system, it is virtually impossible to make accurate predictions absent actual knowledge of “initial conditions” which are unknown. Continue reading
The first eight monopile bases for Dominion Energy’s CVOW project arrive on the Portsmouth waterfront. But a planned German-owned wind turbine blade factory nearby ist kaput.
by Steve Haner
Two national activist groups on energy and environmental issues, both with connections to Virginia, have taken the first legal steps to challenge the recent federal approvals for Virginia’s planned offshore wind complex. Most of what follows is directly from their announcement dated November 14.
The Heartland Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) are filing with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) a 60 Day Notice of Intent to Sue letter for a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The violation is contained in a defective “biological opinion,” which authorizes the construction of Dominion Energy Virginia’s Virginia Offshore Wind Project (VOW).
There have been two other important developments related to the wind project.
- Dominion has applied to the State Corporation Commission to increase the amounts its ratepayers will be contributing to the construction costs. For residential customers that is currently $4.74 for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage and Dominion want to increase it to $8.63 as of next summer. It is still not in compliance with the state law that gave an exemption from that charge to low income customers, claiming it lacks a list of such customers.
- Dominion’s principal turbine supplier, Europe’s Siemens Gamesa, has abandoned its plans to site a factory supporting the United States wind expansion in Portsmouth. That is a huge blow to Virginia’s dream of being an industry hub. (News was withheld by the state until after the election.) Both the company and many American projects are under huge financial pressure, as the press release on the possible lawsuit notes below. Today we learn German taxpayers may bail out Virginia’s ratepayers.
From Virginia to Germany, Danke Schoen.
The states currently in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative tax compact. Pennsylvania will remain conspicuously absent, and Virginia departs in two months.
by Steve Haner
A state court in Pennsylvania has ruled that the regulatory decision to enroll that state in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) exceeded the authority of state regulators. It ruled RGGI is a tax that could only be lawfully imposed by the legislature.
It was the Republican majority in one of the state’s legislative chambers that brought the legal challenge, so unless or until the political balance changes in that state, a vote to join the interstate carbon dioxide capping program is unlikely.
Adding Pennsylvania would have been a major expansion of the 11-state RGGI compact. Its many fossil fuel power plants would need to buy $400 million or more worth of CO2 allowance credits per year, a third or more than Virginia’s power plants are being taxed.
It is also one of the larger states in the PJM Interconnect regional power marketplace (it is the P) where the power plants do not pay into RGGI, lowering the relative cost of its power when it flows into other PJM states. Virginia electric customers are often using electrons from elsewhere in PJM.
That the money the utilities must pay for operating their fossil fuel plants is a tax is something most RGGI proponents, including those in Virginia, vehemently deny. That was one of the key disputes in the challenge in Pennsylvania, where joining RGGI was a regulatory step initiated by its then-Governor Tom Wolf (D). Continue reading
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot photo of the first eight monopiles for Dominion’s offshore wind project, celebrated at a ceremony last Thursday upon their delivery.
The Biden Administration’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued final approval for the construction of Dominion Energy Virginia’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. Here is the release. A few more steps remain and should be completed by late January, according to BOEM.
The announcement, fully expected since all previous U.S. projects have been similarly approved, followed by a few days the arrival of the first set of gigantic monopiles, the first eight of the 176 structures Dominion will build about 27 miles or more off Virginia Beach.
The only coverage of their arrival was provided by The Virginian-Pilot. Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) attended and has praised the project all along. The paper provided only an indirect quote from his remarks:
The project is also at the heart of Virginia’s all-of-the-above approach to energy production, which aims to make energy cheap and plentiful by employing fossil fuels, nuclear and growing green energy, said Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who attended the event.
by Kerry Dougherty
Does anyone really think fewer gas mowers will make a difference?
More importantly, is it the role of government to tell citizens what they must use to trim their fescue?
Of course it isn’t.
Why should we in Virginia care? Because we’re just one car back on California’s crazy train.
During the disastrous Ralph Northam era, when both chambers of the General Assembly were controlled by Virginia’s far-left Democrats, the Old Dominion linked its automotive climate policies to California’s.
Unless sanity is restored in the November elections and the Senate flips to the GOP, gas-powered cars will no longer be sold in Virginia after 2035. Continue reading
by Hans Bader
Electric vehicles require enormous damage to the environment just to produce their batteries — 250 tons of mining is required for a single battery, according to Real Clear Energy. Switching to electric cars would require a radical expansion of mining across the world, and the minerals for the car batteries will be refined mainly using the coal-powered electric grid of China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Yet states are starting to mandate electric vehicles. Nine states, including California, have now decided to ban gasoline-powered cars by 2035, requiring that all cars sold be electric instead. In 2021, Virginia’s Democratic-controlled legislature passed a law adopting California standards for Virginia vehicles, so Virginia also will ban gasoline-powered cars in 2035, unless that law is repealed, as Republicans seek to do (the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates voted to repeal the ban on gas-powered cars in 2023, but the Democratic-controlled Virginia state Senate kept the ban in place). Continue reading
Illustration of planned Equinor offshore wind installation off the coast of New York State. Equinor was one of the developers asking for a price increase, which was rejected.
By Steve Haner
The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) last week told several offshore wind developers it would not approve changes in their state contracts, putting several planned ocean turbine projects into jeopardy. The story is important for its contrast to how Virginia faces the same future. Continue reading
by Bill O’Keefe
According to lore, Yogi Berra is supposed to have said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
Dominion must have had a séance with Yogi and just learned that piece of wisdom because until its latest filing with the SCC it maintained that it would build its giant offshore windfarm for $9.8 billion while also getting to zero emissions by 2045. Now it is fessing up to that being a pipe dream. Until the recent switch, Dominion gave every indication of supporting the Virginia Clean Economy Act’s goal of zero emissions by 2045. Its latest submission to the SCC reverses course.
In its recent submission, Dominion stated, “Due to an increasing load forecast, and the need for dispatchable generation, the Alternative Plans show additional natural-gas-fired resources and preserve existing carbon-emitting units beyond statutory retirement deadlines established in the VCEA.” Its new demand estimate comes from PJM, the regional grid operator that Dominion is required to use. Its earlier rosy scenario proves that analyses can be constructed to produce whatever answer you want. In this case, Dominion saw a way to increase its profits by gaming the VCEA, at least until it began to look like Democrats might lose this year’s election and with it the VCEA mandates.
Similar projects on the East Coast have been confronted by demands for larger subsidies by offshore developers like Orsted or outright contract cancellation. On Monday, Avangrid, a subsidiary of the Spanish utility Iberdrola, announced that it was abandoning the 804-megawatt Park City Wind project offshore Connecticut because it has become unfinanceable. Continue reading
The states currently in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative tax compact.
By Steve Haner
Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) is defending the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board’s decision to exit a multi-state carbon cap and tax compact as within the regulatory agency’s authority. He has also claimed to the circuit court hearing an appeal of that decision that the plaintiffs were not affected by the action directly and thus have no standing to sue.
The four plaintiffs, all associations, filed a 138-page petition in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County in late August. Miyares’ office used just ten pages total for two responses dated September 13. Continue reading
NOAA data for Virginia, 1900-2020, showing no rising pattern in the number of days with an average high above 95 degrees F.
By Steve Haner
First published this morning by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.
Energy is our economy. Energy is the basis of wealth and a comfortable life. As Virginia chooses a new set of legislators to wrestle with the old and new energy issues facing the Commonwealth, here is a review of some of the key points the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy has been stressing and writing about over recent years.
Candidates in either party would do well to adopt them. Continue reading
Click on the images for the full views. Correlation is still not causation, but the standard industry, utility and Biden Administration line “there is no evidence” is getting thin. Virginia Beach, here it comes.
The following has been submitted to the State Corporation Commission via the public comment portal it has established for Dominion Energy Virginia’s pending 2023 Integrated Resource Plan. It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Senior Fellow Stephen D. Haner.
Dominion Energy Virginia is acting reasonably and prudently by planning to maintain most of its natural gas generation and perhaps some of its coal generation for the foreseeable future, despite narrow votes in the Virginia General Assembly in favor of eliminating their use.
That is the only aspect of the pending Integrated Resource Plan review (PUR-2023-00066) on which the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy is offering an opinion. However, the opinion is strongly reinforced by data put on the case record by the State Corporation Commission’s own professional staff and cited below. Continue reading
The central Great Neck Corridor drainage system Virginia Beach
by James C. Sherlock
Sometimes things work. Perhaps they will this time.
There was a time in Virginia Beach when a partnership between a developer and a church to build new houses would have breezed through the Planning Commission and the City Council.
That kind of open season on clearing and building on Virginia Beach’s very low-lying land brought with it lots of problems, including flooding.
The citizens of Virginia Beach, tired of flooding in every heavy rain and even under a clear sky with a full moon, a couple of years ago passed a very large property tax increase on themselves to create a huge pot of money to deal with it.
One of the natural flood control systems already in place is a series of contiguous lakes along Great Neck Road in the eastern part of the city. They handle runoff from that major corridor. That system flows into the Lynnhaven River and the Chesapeake Bay.
To that place comes a developer and a local church with a proposal. Continue reading
By Steve Haner
Yes, Virginia, the Democrats are coming for your gasoline and diesel powered cars. The only way to decouple Virginia from the California Air Resources Board’s relentless drive toward electric vehicles only on new car lots is to change the political landscape in Richmond and reverse a 2021 bill.
A Republican candidate for Virginia Senate used the illustration above to challenge his opponent, current Delegate Danica Roem (D-Manassas), now seeking a seat in the less numerous body. The blog Blue Virginia rushed to Roem’s defense. Here is the full link to the article so you can get the link and the tenor of the message all in one. Continue reading