RTO Insider examined Virginia's new energy plan, quoting Kim Jemaine on how it stifles the governor's goal of reliability, affordability, innovation, and competition. Read snippets below and the full article here.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on Monday released an energy plan that focuses on developing still-untested carbon-free resources while calling into question the ability of current renewable technology to make up for lost capacity as the state shifts away from fossil fuels.
In a letter announcing the plan, Youngkin wrote that previous plans for the transition to cleaner energy were too rigid and followed an “either/or” mindset, whereas his plan seeks a “both/and” approach of expanding solar and wind while investing in other emerging technologies...
While the plan lacks the power of law, it seeks to provide a framework for future policymaking through an assessment of the current state of the energy environment and a series of recommendations for each of its guiding principles: affordability, reliability, competition, innovation and environmental stewardship.
Kim Jemaine, policy director with Advanced Energy Economy, expressed surprise that Youngkin’s plan called for reauthorizing the VCEA every five years, contending that the law shares many of the same goals as his energy plan and a path toward achieving those goals through technological investments while also expanding proven and developable clean energy.
“Gov. Youngkin’s objectives of reliability, affordability, innovation, competition and environmental stewardship are all achievable within the framework of the VCEA. It’s unfortunate that the 2022 Energy Plan spends so much time disparaging the VCEA when that law offers a clear path to achieving the administration’s purported goals,” Jemaine said in a statement.
Requiring the law to be reauthorized regularly would also make it more difficult for businesses to plan for the future, particularly those which have made clean energy pledges, Jemaine said.
By remaining a party to RGGI and holding onto the clean cars standards, Virginia would also provide for an energy sector that is cost-effective, reliable and focused on environmental stewardship in a manner that aligns with Youngkin’s energy goals, she said.
“RGGI is helping Virginia transition towards a clean grid while strengthening our flood resilience and cutting Virginians’ electric bills with energy efficiency. The Clean Cars standards help ensure Virginia is a leading state in transportation electrification, encouraging innovation, cutting tailpipe emissions, and reducing our reliance on costly, imported oil,” she said.
Jemaine told RTO Insider that she sees some bright spots in the plan, including an emphasis on expanded offshore wind, increased competitive bidding by independent power producers and investments in future technology innovation — though she said that cannot come at the cost of also investing in proven clean energy today.
“What the energy plan does is it really emphasizes emerging technology like nuclear and hydrogen, and that's fine, because those technologies may have a space in the future … in the meantime we have to invest in technologies that we already know to ensure that the grid is more stable, reliable and cost effective,” she said.