Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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8/23/18  1:29 pm
Commenter: Ken Haapala, VA-SEEE

Bait & Switch, VA Energy Plan

The update to the 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, “Energy in the New Virginia Economy”, employs the “bait and switch” sales tactic being used by the Commonwealth’s government on Virginia citizens. The bait is “clean energy.” The switch is low-value, high cost electricity paid by consumers. According to the report, Virginia has attracted $500 million in capital investment in the clean energy industry.


The report does not explain how this “clean energy” is an expensive burden to the public.


One, through Federal tax credits, citizens subsidize “clean energy.” The credits are purchased by corporations to lower their Federal tax bill, lowering government receipts, thus increasing the tax burden on ordinary citizens.


Two, by their very nature, wind and solar power are unreliable, often failing to produce when needed the most. Reliable electricity is the mark of modern civilization and is of high value. Unreliable electricity is of low value. In the US, transmission companies, the grid operators, convert low-value, unreliable electricity into high-value, reliable electricity. These costs are passed on to the consumers, not the generators of unreliable electricity. Stabilizing electricity is a major cost of transmission services and is paid by all consumers on the grid.


Thus, the Virginia public pays a double subsidy for low-value electricity from wind and solar, which the plan endorses. The public subsidizes the capital costs of construction through tax credits, etc., and the public subsidies the operating costs of making low value unreliable electricity into high-value reliable electricity.


The plan promotes companies like Amazon and Microsoft which understand the trick. These wealthy companies can build their own solar and wind generation to serve their own facilities. Instead, they finance facilities that dump low-value solar and wind power onto the grid, receiving high-value, reliable power in return, courtesy of Virginia consumers.


According to the plan, the Commonwealth and Tidewater cities received $120 million to address climate change impacts, but the Commonwealth does not grasp the real problem in Tidewater that needs addressing: land subsidence from ground water extraction – not phony claims of dire sea level rise which are contradicted by hard evidence from tidal gauges. If the Commonwealth understood the problem, it would be exploring alternatives for drinking water in Tidewater, such as the Carlsbad, CA, desalination plant which is producing almost 50 million gallons of drinking water a day from the Pacific Ocean. Instead, the plan calls for wasting more money on off-shore wind.



Ken Haapala

Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE)


CommentID: 66478