Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Environmental Quality
Board
Air Pollution Control Board
chapter
Regulation for Emissions Trading [9 VAC 5 ‑ 140]
Action Reduce and Cap Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuel Fired Electric Power Generating Facilities (Rev. C17)
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 3/6/2019
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3/5/19  4:32 pm
Commenter: A.G. Randol III, VA Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment

RGGI: All Pain for the Poor, An Environmental Scam
 

 

The re-proposal of the RGGI scheme is even more draconian than the initial proposal. The re-proposal extends the emissions cap 10 more years to 2040 and lowers the initial cap from 34 million metric tons carbon dioxide in 2020 to 28 million metric tons without any valid justification.

Any temperature change as a result of the reductions would be unmeasurable. The fiction of impacting sea level rise is equally ludicrous.

The proposal is all pain for Virginia electricity consumers, especially for those at or below the poverty line, and no gain for our environment. 

RGGI is a scheme for rationing electricity by imposing illegal taxes. Only the General Assembly has the authority to levy and collect taxes.

The DEQ must withdraw the re-proposal for the following reasons:

THE 2019 GENERAL ASSEMBLY HAS SPOKEN ON RGGI: THEY ARE OPPOSED

The bills that require General Assembly approval of any proposal to limit emissions from powerplants or transportation were passed, including HB 2269 and HB 2611

The bills that attempted to provide a legal framework for RGGI were defeated, including HB 2735  and SB 1666. The introduction of this legislation confirms that there is no legal basis for this regulatory overreach.

All of the bills that proposed a moratorium on fossil fuels were defeated, including HB 1635,HB 1686SB 1648 and HJ 724.

DEQ’S ANALYSIS IS INCOMPLETE, BIASED AND FATALLY FLAWED

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) staff has critiqued the DEQ analysis, including

>RGGI has not published any prices beyond 2030 even though the re-proposal requires reductions through 2040

>Virginia is a NET purchaser of electricity from the PJM grid and the RGGI scheme will INCREASE OUR DEPENDENCE on the PJM grid

Net purchases from the PJM in 2020 are projected to be 7M megawatt hours (8.2%) growing to 19.7M megawatt hours (21.4%) in 2040.

PJM will require additional generation not less.

>DEQ’s claim that consumer bills will fall is incorrect

>DEQ modeled Virginia as a deregulated market, which it is not

>DEQ does not capture the costs of premature plant retirements ($780 million) or the cost of replacement capacity ($1.3 billion plus financing costs and profit margin)

>DEQ relied on models and assumptions not suited for analysis of the proposed regulation

The PLEXOS model is an integrated energy model that simulates the Virginia power market and is used by the SCC. This is the model that should have been used by DEQ. 

DEQ omitted the customer bill impact of increased fuel costs, prematurely retiring generating units and the additional costs for fossil fuel units that continue to operate.

DEQ used a discount rate 3x lower than the standard used by the SCC (weighted average cost of capital) which results in understating the true costs of future capital investments.

>The RGGI penalties will lead to higher PJM energy prices imposing costs across the entire PJM grid

Other states in the PJM may have a cause of action against Virginia to demand compensation for these arbitrarily imposed billions in costs.

DEQ does not account for the businesses and industries that are forced to leave the state because of higher electricirty prices. 

THE AIR POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD (APCB) HAS NOT MET THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 10.1-1308 OF THE CODE OF VIRGINIA

The [APCB]... shall have the power to promulgate regulations, … abating, controlling and prohibiting air pollution… except that a description of provisions of any proposed regulation which are more restrictive than applicable federal requirements, together with the reason why the more restrictive provisions are needed, shall be provided to the standing committee of each house of the General Assembly to which matters relating to the content of the regulation are most properly referable.

>CO2 is not an “air” pollutant, it is a fertilizer for plants

>Pollutants from powerplants are controlled by federal law under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards

>RGGI is more restrictive than applicable federal requirements and conflicts with the federal Affordable Clean Energy rule

NO GAIN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

DEQ claims that the re-proposed regulation is needed to “control CO2emissions in order to protect the public's health and welfare.” It did not quantify either the results of the initial proposal or the revised proposal. CO2 is a globally mixed gas so any reduction in emissions is more than offset by the global emissions. Moreover, the minor emissions reduction is not measurable. 

In recent Congressional testimony (HSST February 2016) by Dr. John Christy observed:

… Examining the history of global carbon emissions, it is clear that countries, especially developing countries [like China and India], will continue to seek to expand energy use through carbon combustion because of their affordability in providing considerable positive benefits to their citizens. 

In any case, the impact on global temperature for current and proposed reductions in greenhouse gases will be tiny at best. To demonstrate this, let us assume, for example, that the total emissions from the United States were reduced to zero, as of last May 13th, 2015 (the date of a hearing at which I testified). In other words, as of that day and going forward, there would be no industry, no cars, no utilities, no people – i.e. the United States would cease to exist as of that day. Regulations, of course, will only reduce emissions a small amount, but to make the point of how minuscule the regulatory impact will be, we shall simply go way beyond reality and cause the United States to vanish. With this we shall attempt to answer the question of climate change impact due to emissions reductions. 

Using the U.N. IPCC impact tool known as Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change or MAGICC, … I reduced the projected growth in total global emissions by U.S. emission contribution starting on this date and continuing on. We also used the value of the equilibrium climate sensitivity as determined from empirical techniques of 1.8 °C. After 50 years, the impact as determined by these model calculations would be only 0.05 to 0.08 °C – an amount less than that which the global temperature fluctuates from month to month. [These calculations used emission scenarios A1B-AIM and AIF-MI with U.S. emissions comprising 14 percent to 17 percent of the 2015 global emissions. There is evidence that the climate sensitivity is less than 1.8 °C, which would further lower these projections.] 

Because halting the emissions of our entire country would have such a tiny calculated impact on global climate, it is obvious that fractional reductions in emissions through regulation would produce imperceptible results. In other words, there would be no evidence in the future to demonstrate that a particular climate impact was induced by the proposed and enacted regulations. Thus, the regulations will have no meaningful or useful consequence on the physical climate system – even if one believes climate models are useful tools for prediction.                      

>The electricity rates in RGGI states are well above the rates in Virginia…driving rates higher under the RGGI ration and tax scheme will penalize Virginia consumers for no demonstrable benefit.

The residential electricity rates in Virginia are lower than the rates in every RGGI state (see below):

States

October 2018

October 2017

 

Cents/kwh

Cents/kwh

 

Connecticut

22.05

21.26

Delaware

13.89

14.20

Maine

16.47

16.05

Maryland

14.19

14.37

Massachusetts

21.30

20.45

New Hampshire

20.23

19.87

New York

19.29

18.74

Rhode Island

21.46

19.55

Vermont

18.42

17.97

Average

18.59

 

 

 

 

Virginia

11.90

11.79

https://www.chooseenergy.com/electricity-rates-by-state/

>VA has already reduced CO2 emissions significantly

MMT CO2

Total

Industry

Residential

Transport

Power

2005

128.23

16.79

8.41

55.57

40.92

2016

103.81 

11.30 

5.73 

47.84

33.23 

Reduction

24.42

6.39

2.68

7.73

7.69

Percent Chg

(19%)

(36%)

(32%)

 

(14%)

(19%)

>Any reduction in VA powerplant emissions would be unmeasurable in the atmosphere

CO2 is a globally mixed gas. 

U.S. CO2 emissions are 15% of global emissions. China’s emissions alone are 30%, twice the emissions of the U.S.

In 2017, total gross U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,472.3 million metric tons (MMT), carbon dioxide (CO2) Equivalent.Total VA emissions are 1.6% and VA powerplant emissions are one-half of one percent (0.5%), respectively, of US total emissions. As a fraction of global emissions, the VA powerplant emissions are only 0.07%.

Any reduction in emissions, including shutting down all VA powerplants, would be unmeasurable.