In my comment posted yesterday, I made the statement that "Using taxpayer money to push renewable energy accomplishes little and enrages free market conservatives." I woud like to withdraw this particular statement, then back away to the big picture.
The key issue in Virginia's energy challenge through the end of this century is to confront the threat of climate change. Hampton Roads will be severely impacted from sea level rise from melting ice sheets, and other areas will experience enorous changes to heat and weather and agricultural production. The degree to which this occurs depends on the degree to which we continue our use of fossil fuels as an energy source.
Our response to this reality must be to select the best solution or solutions to the mission of replacing our fossil fuel energy with renewable energy such as wind and solar. The question moves then from WHAT to do into the territory of HOW to do it. My feeling is that the options rank this way-
best- 1. price Carbon in a revenue-neutral mode that gives the money back to American families
2. Cap and trade
3. whatever else you want to try
As I mention above, some damage from climate change is already baked in. So the remaining mission for Virginians, and all humans, is to slow and reduce the damage. This cannot be done incrementally; it is not even enough to grow renewable energy at a pace of 30% per year. Though that sounds like enough, it is not- since we have already blown through our carbon emissions budget for this planet.
Forgive me for failing to address specifics. My case is that the specifics only matter if they result in a rapid transition of our entire energy budget to renewable energy. If the specifics do not go there, then the specifics do not matter.