Editor, Richmond Times-Dispatch:
You raise some very good points in your editorial, “Burning money,” that are related to health benefits of the Clean Power Plan and the fact that the true cost of electricity is not reflected in current pricing.
There are other crucial points that need to be considered as well. For example, both the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s and the Southern Environmental Law Center’s analyses of the CPP determined that through existing plans, Virginia will meet 80 percent of the CPP required reduction in greenhouse gases. That is great news.
Further, the Southern Environmental Law Center analysis shows that the remaining 20 percent reduction can be met through energy efficiency programs and harnessing renewable sources of energy.
Did you know that Virginia ranks 35th in the nation for energy efficiency? The good news about this shameful statistic is that there is a lot of room for improvement. Improved energy efficiency means reduced electric bills plus energy savings plus reduced greenhouse gas emissions. What a win-win strategy. Moreover, energy efficiency will create 38,000 jobs for Virginians.
Renewables is another crucial point to include. Virginia has ample solar and wind resources. Solar industry experts estimate that 14,500 jobs will be created if Virginia increases solar by 2 percent. Another 10,000 jobs will be created if the offshore wind potential is developed. Using renewables to generate electricity creates many more jobs than using fossil fuels.
The editorial concludes that not all the costs of energy production are obvious. The beauty of using renewables is that once the facility is built, the source of energy is not only free, but it will not run out. And, using renewables is clean. There won’t be any cost of cleaning up pollution.
Natalie Pien. Leesburg, VA
Published Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 26, 2015