Public Comments for 01/25/2021 Labor and Commerce - Subcommittee #3
HB1834 - Electric generating facility closures; public disclosure, integrated resource plans.
Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

HB1834 should be amended to clarify that it only applies to electric utilities.

Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

The League of Conservation Voters encourages you to SUPPORT HB1834. The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) prohibits carbon emissions from any in-state power plants larger than 25 megawatts beginning in 2050. Power plants are significant sources of tax revenue and jobs for the localities in which they are located. For example, the Virginia Cities Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) accounts for 20% of Wise County’s tax revenue. Power plants are likely to close before the dates required by the VCEA in order to meet carbon reduction requirements and/or due to market forces. For example, the Chesterfield coal power plant will close in 2021 (the VCEA requires it to close by 2024), and VCHEC may close within 3-5 years (the VCEA requires it to close by 2045). The public is only aware of the early closure of the VCHEC plant because of financial information revealed by the Attorney General in a State Corporation Commission case. This information should be public for all power plants.

Last Name: Griffin Organization: New Virginia Majority Locality: Richmond

At New Virginia Majority, we support HB1834. We see this legislation as critical for those fossil-fuel fired facilities that have been located in environmental justice and fenceline communities across Virginia, especially given that this legislation ensures that the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice receives a written notice of impending closures and facility retirement studies conducted by utilities for their IRPs. This legislation provides deserved transparency to the over forty communities who will be in transition as the state increasingly adopts valuable renewable energy resources; the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) prohibits carbon emissions from any in-state power plants larger than 25 megawatts beginning in 2050. And as these fossil-fuel fired facilities come to close, these people, many of which are Black, Brown, low-income, and/or rural, should be able to have their questions answered and be directly informed about about how and when these plants will close, what will happen to the sites, and how it will impact their local area and their own quality of life, especially economically and environmentally, being that many of these facilities have been direct sources of employment and local air pollution. We thank the Delegate for bringing this legislation forward and encourage the committee to vote in support. Thank you. Tyneshia Griffin, the Environmental Policy Research Analyst at New Virginia Majority.

Last Name: Turner Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

On behalf of the Virginia Conservations Network I urge the committee to support HB1834. As we make the transition to a clean energy economy it is important now more than ever that we prepare and notify impacted communities and relevant state agencies, and increase the transparency around imminent power plant closures. This is just a crucial first step in preparing these communities for the new clean energy based economy .

Last Name: Clewett Organization: Lewinsville Faith in Action Locality: Fairfax County

Under the Virginia Clean Economy Act, carbon-emitting power plants in Virginia must cease operations no later than 2050. However, a number of these plants may close sooner than they are required to, due to market forces and carbon reduction requirements. For example, the last three coal-fired power plants in Virginia will all be closing soon. The Chesterfield Power Station will close in 2021 (ahead of the required date of 2024), the Clover Power Station in Halifax will close by 2025, and the Virginia Cities Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) may close within three to five years (well ahead of the requirement of 2045). These closures can cause disruption in their localities, since power plants provide jobs and significant tax revenue. For example, VCHEC accounts for 20% of Wise County’s tax revenue. To ensure a smooth transition from fossil-fuels to clean electricity generation, communities must have as much information about plant closures as possible, so that no one is caught by surprise. Currently, communities must glean information from disparate sources, such as proceedings before the State Corporation Commission (as happened with VCHEC). However, the public deserves to have reliable information about closure plans for every fossil-fuel plant. HB 1834 would require power plants owners to conduct power plant retirement studies at least every 18 months, to determine if the plant should close before the end of its expected useful life, and to notify impacted communities and relevant state agencies of a decision to close a power plant within 14 days of the decision. This transparency is needed to assist communities in smoothly transitioning to a clean energy economy. I urge you to support HB 1834.

HB1907 - Electric utilities; advanced renewable energy buyers.
No Comments Available
HB2265 - Electric utilities; development of renewable energy facilities.
Last Name: Bevins Locality: Madison

An acre of forest coverts 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide per year into oxygen. This clean plan effectively creates 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year while removing the oxygen benefit forever. The solar panels installed today will be obsolete in 10 years while we already have an effective nuclear infrastructure in place. Democrats who agree with Al Gore should be marching against this effort to kill off a Fairfax County-sized natural forest and cover the area with subsidized glass panels. No more habitat, no more greenery, no more trees, and a lot less food in an already starving world is no way to be good stewerts of the natural beauty here in Virginia. This is not Saudi Arabia where sunlight and oil are our only commodities. Virginia's treasure is its forests and farmland.

Last Name: Smith Organization: Self Locality: Alexndria

Please vote For 2265. Don’t you all realize that while climate change is real that remaining a free an independent country is most vital in all circumstances. Cutting down trees so that we can become dependent on Chinese solar panels in Chinese batteries does not help the climate and makes us reliant on China. Doesn’t our leader ship know that all of the solar panels come from China that all of the materials that go into making batteries come from China/? Why surrender our independence on energy to the communist party?

Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

The League of Conservation Voters encourages you to OPPOSE HB2265. In 2020, the General Assembly passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, a plan to decarbonize the electricity sector by mid-century and accelerate our transition to renewable energy, and voted to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state carbon cap-and-invest program estimated to bring $100 million of annual revenue to the commonwealth to fund important energy efficiency and resiliency programs. This legislation would roll back these gains by stripping provisions declaring that investments in solar, wind and energy storage are in the public interest, and maintain a status quo of fossil fuel dependency while investing in new nuclear generation – the most expensive source of electricity. Climate change demands an immediate response; we must start reducing harmful carbon emissions now, and public support behind clean energy and climate action is at an all-time high. Virginia must stay the course on its commitments to a carbon-free grid and the economic, environmental and public health benefits that come with transitioning away from harmful fossil fuels.

Last Name: Burden Organization: The LaRouche Organization Locality: Leesburg

More nuclear reactors, please! If you can't do that, use coal, oil or gas. Nuclear power, especially breeder reactors, produces the most power with the least environmental impact, and the isotopes produced have myriad other uses. Hysterical and hypocritical fear of weapons proliferation, and hysterical fear of exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation, drive up the cost of nuclear power, but it is by far our best choice, with more than 1.5 million times as much power in a pound of fissile material as in a pound of natural gas. With breeder reactors, all thorium and all uranium, and heavier elements such as neptunium and plutonium, can be made fissile, allowing us to power the world for many centuries on spent nuclear fuel and depleted uranium already mined, or the thorium obtained as a by-product of rare earth mining. If hysteria and hypocrisy prevail, then we must use coal, oil or gas. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, however, use of coal, oil and gas requires a lot of mining and transport of fuel, and produces much real pollution, which can be greatly reduced with proper refining and combustion--at least, the air pollution can be reduced. Because coal, oil and gas are reliable and much more energy-dense than sunshine or wind, they are far less polluting than the mining, manufacturing, maintenance, and power storage or backup required to obtain adequate power from wind and sunshine. The solar and wind plants must be spread out over vast areas, and fully exposed to weather, birds and insects, to capture the sun and wind. Removal of insects and bird feces from square miles of panels or thousands of 700-foot windmill towers with 600 foot-long blades is very labor-intensive; if neglected, plant performance degrades rapidly! One hail storm can ruin a solar farm.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Rockingham County, VA

I'm against cutting forests down. Trees filter out impurities in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants and giving off oxygen making our air cleaner and healthier which is especially important for people with respiratory problems. I have asthma so this is especially important to me. The impurities trees trap get washed to the ground when it rains and is filtered by the soil instead of running into our rivers. That keeps our bodies of water much more clean and pure. Trees and shrubs hold the soil and keep it from washing away. In the West when there were forest fires the last several years and a lot of rain afterward there was a lot of erosion and mudslides that took some remaining houses with it. We've all experienced the reduction in the temperature when we leave a city and drive into the country where there are many trees. Trees also provide homes for wild life and food for some animals. Getting rid of large areas of trees will drive wildlife out of the area upsetting the balance of nature. Since the bill passed to allow clear cutting of forests I read our electric bills will increase around $800 a year. I don't know very many families who can afford an increase like that. To me, it seems to be a short sighted way to go greener. Our air quality has improved the last few years. I think we should concentrate more on the things that have been done that have improved our air quality.

Last Name: Doyle Organization: Concerned Private Citizen Locality: Edinburg, Shenandoah County

Virginia Clean Economy Act, was based on the unrealistic narrative that electricity’s “clean technology” from wind and solar had little or no impact on the environment. Now that the facts are coming out, it is clear the impact on our environment by renewables was ignored. Climate change policy must weigh the options for its full economic and environmental impact and as well as energy reliability. While expansion of renewable energy sources could be a good thing, the mandates in this act are both economically and environmentally disastrous. I believe most Virginians would not favor the current VCEA path because forests and farmland are important to our way of life, and no one needs higher electricity bills.

Last Name: Wright and Johnson Organization: Suburban Virginia Republican Coalition (SUVGOP) Locality: Herndon and Alexandria

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF HB 2265 - REPEAL OF VCEA Ron Wright, COO/Steering Committee, Suburban Virginia Republican Coalition (SUVGOP) and Collister Johnson, Jr., Senior Adviser SUVGOP, Former Chairman, Virginia Port Authority We are grateful for the leadership of Delegate Nick Freitas in submitting HB 2265 to repeal the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) - the most radical and counterproductive legislation in the US affecting the generation of electricity. The VCEA was passed, without adequate hearings or debate, and without information or awareness of the enormously detrimental consequences which it would unleash on the Commonwealth. Since the passage of VCEA, the State Corporation Commission has determined that the VCEA required mandates for electrical generation will result in an increase of over $800 per year for electricity to the average Virginia family. In addition, Dominion Energy has determined that, in order to meet the VCEA requirements for solar generated electricity, 490 square miles of Virginia’s forest and farmland must be blanketed with solar panels. This is equivalent to 237,000 football fields or 20 times the size of Manhattan. It does not have to be this way. The climate and the environment of Virginia can be protected without mandates deciding which are the “most favored” methods for generating electricity. Ruinous increases in electricity rates can be avoided, atmospheric carbon dioxide can be maintained at current levels, and the protection of the environment can also be achieved, simply by increasing the use of clean natural gas and the expansion of existing nuclear generation assets. This radical transformation of energy policy threatens working families and seniors on fixed incomes. It is an especially unfortunate time to impose rising rates when thousands of Virginians are currently unable to pay more than $100 million in overdue electricity bills. We have already seen the negative consequences of the rushed passage of the VCEA: - Thousands of acres of clear-cut forests, including the massive 6,000-acre Fawn Lake project in Spotsylvania County - the largest solar facility east of the Mississippi. - A “gold rush” of over 180 solar projects, which have swamped County Planning Commissions and Boards of Supervisors, while providing only meager tax revenue. - The creation of a serious conflict of interest for the Department of Environmental Quality, whose oversight responsibility is compromised by the fact that solar permit fees provide a significant part of its operating budget. - The installation already of over one million solar panels, which contain toxic chemicals, without adequate procedures for their removal and disposition at the end of their useful lives. Governor Northam has stated that the VCEA will “advance environmental justice and help create clean energy jobs”. He should know that these clean energy platitudes are demonstrably false. Huge increases in electricity rates will crush middle income working families, and almost no human labor is required for their operation. The Commonwealth deserves a rational, reasoned, and honest discussion of energy policy, not a rush to impose only wind and solar generation on us without regard to consequences. It is in the interests of all Virginians to repeal VCEA, and begin anew a reasoned deliberation of electrical generation policy which will result in abundant, affordable, and reliable electricity for the Commonwealth.

Last Name: Shippee Organization: Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Locality: Henrico

HB2265 would undo the tremendous progress made in last session to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other climate policies, and is the opposite of what the General Assembly needs to be doing as the Commonwealth faces the climate crisis. HB2281 would exempt some corporations from paying their fair share of energy costs, burdening the rest of us with all of the VCEA-related non-bypassable charges created by the transition to renewable energy. This is not advisable.

HB2281 - Virginia Clean Economy Act; non-bypassable charges, energy-intensive trade-exposed (EITE).
Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

The League of Conservation Voters encourages you to OPPOSE HB2281

Last Name: Jefferson Organization: Appalachian Power Company Locality: Richmond

Appalachian Power opposes HB2281. The bill would exempt over 1400 energy intensive customers from non-bypassable charges in provisions of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, passing a significant amount of cost on to other customers. Investments in renewables to reach the targets set in the Virginia Clean Economy Act should require all customers to participate. Please oppose HB2281

Last Name: Browder Organization: Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Counsel Locality: Richmond

The General Assembly made a policy decision with the Clean Economy Act that virtually all customers connected to Dominion’s and Appalachian Power’s distribution system in Virginia would be responsible for those utilities’ increased net cost of transitioning the State’s power generation towards zero-carbon energy resources. Consumer Counsel opposes HB2281 because it would allow some of the very largest industrial customers to shift their cost responsibility under the CEA to residential and commercial customers without any clean energy contributions from these EITE customers. Such an arrangement is contrary to notions of fairness and equity. Furthermore, unlike other special exceptions, the sizable electric loads represented by these large customers would still be factored into determining the utilities’ Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements, compounding the cost shift from special interest customers to other customers.

Last Name: Shippee Organization: Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Locality: Henrico

HB2265 would undo the tremendous progress made in last session to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other climate policies, and is the opposite of what the General Assembly needs to be doing as the Commonwealth faces the climate crisis. HB2281 would exempt some corporations from paying their fair share of energy costs, burdening the rest of us with all of the VCEA-related non-bypassable charges created by the transition to renewable energy. This is not advisable.

HB2282 - State Corporation Commission; transportation electrification, utility recovery of certain costs.
Last Name: Lewis Organization: The Nature Conservancy Locality: Charlottesville

The Nature Conservancy supports Sullivan HB 2282. Electrifying the transportation sector is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. This bill takes a proactive approach to preparing for the increased demand that vehicle electrification will place on the power sector. The SCC and the Commonwealth need a comprehensive understanding of how to best utilize all available tools – smart grid technology, smart growth policies, private investments, and more – to facilitate this increased electricity load in a way that best supports all stakeholders, especially ratepayers.

Last Name: Gordon Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

HB 2282 will ensure we facilitate decarbonization of Virginia’s single-largest source of carbon (passenger vehicles), in a way that also displaces electric utility co-option of this crucial climate action wedge. It does so by establishing a multi-agency study of how Virginia can electrifies its transportation fleet in time to address climate change and in a way that protects ratepayers, by enhancing Virginia’s expected EV infrastructure needs through targeted, cost-effective utility investment in the kind of charging programs that are already underway in most American states, including in neighboring DC, MD, and NC.

Last Name: Vassey Organization: Virginia Manufacturers Association Locality: Richmond

HB2282 further captures consumers within monopoly electric utility markets for transportation energy essential to global competitiveness. This bill does not effectively incorporate an analysis of the potential ramifications for national security, costs to consumers, technical limits for the grid, and technical limits of automotive technology for specific users (e.g., residential, large families, commercial business, industrial business, maritime/port infrastructure, etc.).

Last Name: Leyen Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

The League of Conservation Voters encourages you to SUPPORT HB 2282: This bill directs the SCC to study and recommend policy proposals that could govern public electric utility programs to accelerate widespread transportation electrification. Elements of this study include provisions to focus charging infrastructure developments on low income, minority, and rural communities, consider smart growth policies, public transit & fleet electrification, energy storage, and explore ways to reduce total ratepayer costs. This bill will recommend strategies for enhancing Virginia’s expected EV infrastructure needs through targeted, cost-effective utility investment in the kind of charging programs that are already underway in most American states, including in neighboring DC, MD, and NC.

Last Name: Wiggins Organization: Virginia Poverty Law Center Locality: Richmond

HB2282 brought by Del. Sullivan, is a bill that directs the SCC to review and report on policy proposals that will accelerate the electrification of transportation throughout Virginia. This bill allows for thorough vetting of potential policy proposals Virginia could take in pursuit of electrifying our transportation systems. This will allow consideration to be given to the needs of all the citizens of the Commonwealth, an alignment of the goals and policies of Virginia’s energy plan, and ensure equity in the development of policies and programs that do not underserve or overburden segments of the Commonwealth’s citizenry in pursuit of our Commonwealth’s transportation and energy goals. VPLC supports this legislation and thanks the General Assembly members for their support.

Last Name: Guthrie Organization: Virginia Transit Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Transit Association supports HB 2282 (Sullivan) - SCC report on policy proposals to expand transportation electrification across the Commonwealth. This will establish a solid framework for future infrastructure investments for public transit providers. Thank you for your favorable consideration. Lisa Guthrie VTA Executive Director

Last Name: Kish Organization: Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Locality: Richmond

Sierra Club Virginia Chapter supports HB 2282. With transportation the leading source of carbon in Virginia, we need a thorough plan to address these emissions through electrification. The plan laid out in HB 2282 will help us gather the necessary information to make smart decisions about how we electrify the transportation sector so that we end up with cleaner air for all. HB 2282 is worthy of your support.

Last Name: Lewis Organization: The Nature Conservancy Locality: Charlottesville

The Nature Conservancy supports Sullivan HB 2282. Electrifying the transportation sector is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. This bill takes a proactive approach to preparing for the increased demand that vehicle electrification will place on the power sector. The SCC and the Commonwealth need a comprehensive understanding of how to best utilize all available tools – smart grid technology, smart growth policies, private investments, and more – to facilitate this increased electricity load in a way that best supports all stakeholders, especially ratepayers.

Last Name: St. Ledger-Olson Organization: Generation180 Locality: Charlottesville

On behalf of clean energy nonprofit Generation180 and our network of electric vehicle owners and ambassadors across Virginia, we ask for your support for House Bill 2282. We work with EV owners across the state every day, from Fairfax to Danville, Virginia Beach to Blacksburg, and everywhere in between. While going electric is a fantastic option for so many Virginians right now, their experiences make it clear that our charging infrastructure is a work in progress. We applaud the work being done by DEQ and EVgo to expand Virginia’s charging infrastructure, but further contributions are necessary in order to accelerate transportation electrification in a manner that supports the Commonwealth’s carbon reduction goals. Electric ratepayers can benefit immensely from the additional revenue generated from transportation electrification, and therefore utilities should play a well-designed role in supporting this transition. Delegate Sullivan’s bill provides a mechanism for examining our charging infrastructure in a methodical manner - beyond what the SCC reviewed in 2020 during their request for public comments on this subject - and would include a particular focus on low-income, minority, and rural communities. Our transition to electric mobility must be done in a manner that does not create further disparities for disadvantaged communities, and this bill is an excellent step in that direction. Furthermore, Generation180 has surveyed Virginians multiple years in a row now and the results are clear: proximity to a public charging station makes Virginians almost 60% more likely to consider an EV for their next car. DEQ and EVgo should not be alone in addressing this critical component to combating climate change, and I urge the General Assembly to support House Bill 2282. Thank you.

Last Name: Gordon Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Richmond

VCN is in full support of HB 2282. This bill will ensure we facilitate decarbonization of Virginia’s single-largest source of carbon (passenger vehicles), in a way that also displaces electric utility co-option of this crucial climate action wedge. It does so by establishing a multi-agency study of how Virginia can electrifies its transportation fleet in time to address climate change and in a way that protects ratepayers, by enhancing Virginia’s expected EV infrastructure needs through targeted, cost-effective utility investment in the kind of charging programs that are already underway in most American states, including in neighboring DC, MD, and NC.

HB2304 - Phase I or Phase II electric utilities; petitions to provide broadband capacity.
Last Name: Riddle Organization: Virginia Education Association Locality: Richmond City

The Virginia Education Association (VEA) takes a position of support for HB2304.

Last Name: Straley Organization: Louisa County Public Schools (Small/Rural Schools Coalition) Locality: Louisa County

HB- 2304: Great for Our Schools and Our Future! Good evening members of the House Labor and Commerce Committee. Thank you for reading my comments as we look to make sure all students attending Louisa County Public Schools are afforded with the opportunities to reach their maximum potential. In today’s society, our students need access to the internet that is fast, reliable, and affordable, i.e., broadband, in order to be competitive in the developing job markets, college, and life. Today’s jobs require our students to at least have the skill set to successfully navigate on the internet, to evaluate accurate information critically, and to be informed citizens. In the last two years, where 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were produced every day, it falls upon local communities to support the infrastructure for broadband. The following are some of the challenges presented in our rural community: -Students with broadband access are more easily able to participate in synchronous sessions, allowing them to continue to learn with immediate guidance and feedback from a teacher. Those without access have found themselves learning in a more asynchronous manner, without the ability to ask immediate questions and get timely feedback. For students who struggle, this could serve to cause them further challenges as they may find themselves having to learn more on their own. Specifically, in many areas of Louisa where our students reside, MiFis do not provide sufficient signals to access the internet, regardless of the company or the carrier. Families have shared with us that these services provide internet speed that are slow, and it becomes increasingly difficult for students to download certain assignments and to access supplementary resources to support learning.  -Students without broadband access may not be able to access supplementary resources to support learning. This has been one of the frustrations of some families in Louisa County. A lack of broadband access can deny students the ability to use these resources. Teachers have supplemented the learning with videos or summaries for students to access if they are unable to participate in their synchronous sessions.  -A lack of broadband access has caused our students to develop a sense of isolation. While those with access participate in synchronous sessions, interact with teachers and peers, and continue to develop those relationships, students without access may find themselves disconnected from their teacher, class, and/or school. In many ways, schools serve as a place to help provide resources to students who may not be able to access them through other avenues. The lack of affordable and accessible broadband only serves to solidify the digital divide, which in turn only serves to increase the gaps that already exist between our students. In today’s society in which access to the internet is an essential component for preparing our students to be competitive in this world market, we cannot afford to have such a divide of the “have’s” and the “have not’s.” Our children in our rural communities need and deserve the opportunity for a high-quality education which includes equal access to broadband that is affordable for families. HB-2304 is a definite step in the right direction to make this a reality. Thank you for your time and service to the Commonwealth. It is appreciated! J. Douglas Straley Division Superintendent

End of Comments