Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Energy
Department of Energy
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8/17/18  12:09 pm
Commenter: Paula Clements, Climate Reality Leader

The Commonwealth must move to 100% NOW

My name is Paula Clements and I am a Climate Reality Leader.  The environment crisis is of grave concern for me.  Globally, we are dumping 110 mil. tons of man-made global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day.  That pollution is billowing out of smokestacks and tailpipes and leaking from pipelines and compressor stations right here in the Commonwealth.  The sky looks like a vast expanse but in reality, the atmosphere is a very thin shell surrounding our planet, and we are using it as an open sewer.

There are only 3 questions we need to address. MUST we change/CAN we change and most important, WILL we change – that is why we are here today.

Let me address the 1st question, Must we change? 

  •  If you ask the military leaders in Norfolk who have been watching sea level rise affect the readiness of their sailors and damage the installations’ buildings and infrastructure, I know they would say yes!
  • If you ask the business owners and residents in Alexandria who deal with flooding on a regular basis now and are spending thousands of dollars on insurance and repairs and face continual anxiety about their ability to remain in their location, I am sure they would say yes!
  • If you ask my neighbors who are themselves, or their children, suffering from asthma or Lyme disease, I know they would say yes!
  •  If you ask my friends who live along the route of the new pipelines, who are seeing their water sources compromised, I know they would say yes!

The answer to that first question must be a resounding YES!  Our continued actions to ignore the warning signs, to ignore the scientists and to continue to dump fossil fuel pollution into the atmosphere has put at risk, all of human civilization.  It is happening on our watch!  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

So that second question, Can we change, fortunately is YES.  The relief we need is heaven sent, in the form of wind and sun.  Our scientists, innovators and businesses have developed ways that we can harness the wind and sun and create clean renewable energy. 

  • My husband and I installed solar this spring and I can look at the company’s app and see little red dots where other solar arrays are placed around Northern VA.  Sadly, there are so few dots, that I can identify who each dot belongs to – they are my friends.  The same couldn’t be said if I lived in MD or DC.  Looking at their map you can’t even differentiate a dot there are so many on top of each other; it is more like blotches.  Why the difference?  They adopted net metering long before we did and they offer incentives and set expectations that people and businesses will embrace solar.  And by the way, do you know that solar installers are the fastest growing jobs in America?  9x faster than all others?
  •  And then there is wind energy opportunities.  Despite Virginia having a promising onshore and offshore wind resource, there are currently no megawatt size installations in the Commonwealth.   Not true of our MD neighbors who as of Jun 2017 had more than 191 MW of installed land-based wind capacity. As far back as 2016, they had enough wind capacity to power 49,000 average homes. Although an offshore wind lease here in VA was let years ago, Dominion has made little progress in developing the project.  It should be noted that wind turbine repair is the 2nd fastest growing job market!

And finally, that third question, WILL we change?  I have read many of the statements on your website and I’ve listened to speakers, many experts in their field, at the Northern VA Listening Session.  We are facing a global crisis that needs a global response but that doesn’t relieve us of our own responsibility.  There are already multiple States and hundreds of Cities who have committed to go 100% renewable.  There are 40 cities who have already achieved it!  But not one Virginia community has been able to make the commitment because there are so many obstacles for us here in the Commonwealth.  We are even seeing many Corporations commit and achieve 100%.  Apple, the most profitable company in history is operating on 100% Renewable energy!  The conflict between the environment and the economy is a myth! 

I implore you to take the advice and suggestions you obtain from the listening sessions and online comments and help Gov. Northam develop an energy plan for our Commonwealth that looks forward not back; that quickly ramps up Renewable Power, energy efficiency, Electric Vehicle infrastructure and storage capability. I recognize that the tasks ahead are large and daunting but we are surrounded by examples that a global sustainability revolution is underway.  Let’s work together on an aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions and lead the commonwealth to a 100% renewable future!  THANK YOU.

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