We have to stop fooling ourselves with the fallacy that "all of the above" is a good energy strategy. "All of the above" is a mindless mantra, not a strategy. We need to critically examine every aspect of existing energy technologies, especially in the light of intensifying climate change.
Due to climate change, substantial changes are needed to Virginia's energy plan. We need to adapt, as quickly as possible, to changing conditions.
The Energy Plan should include a means of closely watching how our energy technologies impact the environment. Some data would come from energy companies, and other data would come from scientists. Scientists need to monitor climate change by keeping records on air temperatures, sea level rise, severity of storms (precipitation and wind), and damages incurred upon the environment (natural and human). By determining which factors exacerbate climate change, we will be able to adjust our energy technologies to avoid making things worse.
We need to phase out use of fossil fuels, including coal, petroleum, and natural gas. We also need to phase out nuclear energy. Incentives for all of these industries must be eliminated. Renewables need to be encouraged instead, with regulatory as well as financial assistance. The Energy Plan should include a timetable or goals for phasing out old technologies and phasing in new ones.
To help renewables to grow, give them the same business and regulatory breaks, benefits, and subsidies as other energy industries have enjoyed.
We need to continue improving the electrical distribution grid.
We need to allow decentralized producers of electricity (through solar, wind, and other renewable sources) to sell excess electricity into the grid without limitations imposed to benefit existing companies (like Dominion).
We need to establish publicly accessible re-fueling stations for electric vehicles at convenient intervals along our highways.
"Voluntary renewable energy goals" of the 2014 Energy Plan should be greatly increased, at least tripled or quadrupled.
Virginia utilities should focus on building their in-state generation capacity enough to satisfy Virginia's demands, thus providing jobs for Virginians and eliminating the need for electrical energy imports into Virginia.
Coal, oil, and natural gas are all fossil fuels. Leave them in the ground. Continue to, and accelerate, the phasing out of coal mining. Discourage use of gas and oil. Encourage alternatives, such as electric vehicles. Do not build new natural gas-fired generation plants or new transmission pipelines. Eliminate research and development on outmoded energy technologies (i.e., fossil fuel and nuclear).
Phase out all nuclear generation plants. We have never figured out what to do with the spent nuclear fuel rods. Nuclear waste is a toxic liability, wherever it stored, and we need to stop making more.
Encourage research and development of emerging renewable energy technologies with grants, subsidies, and incentives.
Virginia’s current "alternative fuels" production is largely from fossil fuels. This must change to a mix of renewable energies, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, wave motions and tides, and geothermal.
Educating the public is an important consideration. Overall, conserving energy and reducing demand are just plain common sense, and should be encouraged. Educational opportunities such as apprentice programs with renewable energy industries must be made available to older workers as well as to students, to prepare for the jobs of the future.