The verdict is in and green energy virtue in Virginia’s electricity market remains available in monthly increments. You do not need to be green twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, tracking every change of demand.
That was the requirement demanded by Dominion Energy Virginia in its recent effort to block competitive service providers who are taking away customers who want 100% renewable power. In a 22-page opinion issued today (here), the State Corporation Commission rejected every Dominion assertion across the board. It said the two companies, Calpine Energy Solutions and Direct Energy Business, are operating within Virginia law.
That result was predictable, but not guaranteed, after the SCC ordered Dominion to stop blocking those customers from leaving. Dominion had asserted its “24-7-365” standard for matching renewable energy to demand months ago, and then began to enforce it on its own, cutting off transfers to the two firms. The SCC stopped that first, and now has ruled on the underlying issue.
The short case ran up a massive record of paper and hearing transcripts, accomplishing little but aggravation and big lawyer bills. The competitive service providers (CSPs) can continue to recruit Dominion customers until the utility has its own 100% renewable option, and that application is pending. Virginia’s wild and crazy utility law says competition is only allowed if the utility doesn’t have its own approved tariff.
The monthly matching standard basically means on a month-to-month basis, the CSP is generating renewable power from its own plants or (more likely) buying it under contract from other generators in amounts equal to the demand from its customers. The case heard discussion of matching standards from daily or hourly up to annually, apparently considered valid in some locations.
The other major investor-owned utility, Appalachian Power Company in the western part of Virginia, now offers a 100% renewable product with a monthly matching standard. That was approved earlier this year, ending CSP recruitment in its territory. Dominion didn’t like the monthly standard in that case, arguing against it and offering another version of its “24-7-365” requirement. The SCC shot that down, too.
As previously discussed, both APCO and Dominion in their renewable tariffs are mainly packaging and reselling their existing generation, much of it aging hydro power. As the 100% renewable customers get to seem more green, the rest of us are stuck losing our green virtue in a zero-sum game.There are currently no comments highlighted.