Guest post by Patrick Stelmach of the Sierra Club
Richmond, VA - On Wednesday November 30, dozens of Virginia residents and clean energy business owners held a “Rally for Renewables” in front of Dominion Virginia Power office building and marched to the State Corporation Commission to deliver over 2,500 public comments from across Virginia on Dominion’s Integrated Resource Plan. The comments urged the agency to phase out two coal-fired power plants and support job-creating investments in solar power, wind farms, and energy efficiency. On the eve of the deadline for public comments on Dominion’s long-term energy plan, rally participants unfurled and delivered a 300-foot-long banner constructed out of all the public comments, demonstrating broad-based public support for developing clean energy in Virginia and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Speakers at the rally urged the Commission to approve Dominion’s proposal to retire the outdated Yorktown and Chesapeake coal-burning power stations, which have deteriorated public health in the region for over 50 years. Clean-energy business owners highlighted the abject lack of renewable energy in Dominion’s long-term plan as well as Dominion’s recent attempts to discourage customers from investing in solar energy. Pointing to the sustained growth of clean energy jobs in other states, speakers called on Dominion and the Commission to craft a smart, forward-thinking energy plan that takes advantage of Virginia’s potential for clean energy. Solar and land-based wind are cost-competitive with coal and could create high-wage, career-length jobs throughout the state.