Dominion made $277 million in excess profit and there is nothing we can do about it

Dominion Energy made $277 million dollars more in profit than considered “appropriate” by regulators – and due laws recently passed, Dominion will be able to keep this money. This is money that could be used to lower customer’s energy costs or be used to fund the aggressive shift away from fossil fuels needed to forestall the climate emergency. Instead, the climate-change deniers at Dominion Energy will be able to use the money as they see fit.

This all could change, though. If Arlington municipalized its electrical utility, voters would have control over what was done with the money. We could use it to make our electricity grid more resilient, subsidize rooftop solar and home efficiency improvements, or build our own solar or wind farms.

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Dominion Energy Has No Intention of Meeting IPCC goals

The IPCC report from October 2018 laid out aggressive new goals that the world must meet to prevent the worst consequences of climate change

  • A 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (as compared to 2010 levels)
  • Net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Dominion Energy has made it clear they have no intention on meeting that goal. Dominion continues to build new fossil fuel infrastructure. This is incompatible with meeting IPCC goals.

  1. Dominion is the lead stakeholder in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is a 600 mile long natural gas pipeline. It would double Virginia’s carbon emissions.
  2. Dominion recently spent 1.3 Billion dollars to build a new natural gas power station. They claim natural gas is “clean-burning” – it is not. They intend to use the station for 36 years, well past the deadline for zero emissions.
  3. Dominion has told its investors that it intends to reduce its carbon output by only 55% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

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Natural Gas: A Dead End

Natural gas is often held up as an example of a “clean” fossil fuel that can serve as a “bridge fuel” to help smooth the transition to carbon-free power sources like solar and wind. This is a false and dangerous claim. There are two big problems with natural gas:

  1. While it is cleaner than coal or oil, natural gas is still a fossil fuel that releases carbon dioxide while burned. Natural gas produces about half the carbon dioxide that coal does. Unfortunately, we simply do not have room in our planetary carbon budget. We must transition directly to non-carbon emitting power sources like solar and wind.
  2. Natural gas is a mixture of many different gasses, but it is mostly methane. Methane is an extremely destructive greenhouse gas. As natural gas is extracted and transported through pipelines, methane can leak out into the atmosphere. Because methane is such a destructive greenhouse gas, it does not take much leakage to make natural gas just as bad as coal.

Building new natural gas wells, pipeline infrastructure, or power plants is simply incompatible with meeting CO2 reduction goals.

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