Support the Renewables First Act!

Support the Renewables First Act!

Support HB 1686, The Renewables First Act (RFA), which will place a moratorium on constructing new fossil fuel electric generation capacity until renewable energy generation facilities with 5,500 megawatts capacity are in operation in Virginia.

Guest blogger: 
Karel Svoboda, Zero Carbon Virginia

Virginia’s electricity is generated by burning polluting coal and gas (fossil fuels), which produces heat-trapping greenhouse gases with potentially catastrophic consequences for human health, agriculture, and economic growth. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while keeping the lights on, will require shifting the electric power sector to clean renewable energy, like solar and wind. This transition is in full swing in many states and countries, but not in Virginia.

Only a negligible proportion of Virginia’s electricity comes from solar or wind. In contrast, North Carolina produces almost ten times as much electricity from sunlight. If they can do it, so can we! Why is the renewables target of the bill 5,500 megawatts? 5,500 megawatts considered “in the public interest,” in the Grid Transformation and Security Act that was passed in 2018. Furthermore. renewable energy is cost competitive with natural gas, according to Dominion’s own 2018 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The RFA will ensure that future demand is first met by renewable energy. Right now, Dominion, our monopoly utility, is planning to build more fossil fuel plants to meet demand. The Dominion plan moves Virginia in the wrong direction by continuing to increase greenhouse gas emissions and investing in fossil fuel facilities that will become costly stranded assets in the near future.

Virginia must make a binding commitment to switching to renewable energy. Dominion will not build renewable energy capacity unless we tell them to do so. This switch represents an economic opportunity for Virginia, if we embrace it now. The Renewables First Act (RFA) will ensure that future demand is met by renewable energy in a cost-neutral manner. We request that you support the Renewables First Act, HB 1686, during the 2019 Legislative Session.

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