Energy

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  The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered each state to cut back on emissions of carbon dioxide by 2030, and a new report shows Virginia will be nearly half-way there by 2020. 

The state has agreed to cut its rate of CO2 pollution by 38-percent, and at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Senior Energy Analyst Jeremy Richardson says the key is scaling back on coal.

“Virginia expects to retire 14 coal-fired generating units between 2012 and 2020, and that represents about 19% of the state’s coal fired generation.”  

A poll by the National Resources Defense Council shows 88% of Virginians want the state to use more wind and solar power, and the federal government has offered the state $47 million to build a couple of turbines offshore, but Dominion Power is hesitant. 

Virginia is blessed with 112 miles of coastline. Twenty-seven miles out, the water is still relatively shallow, making it ideal for construction of wind turbines, and there’s usually a steady ocean breeze.

Dominion Virginia Power has leased land offshore for a wind park, but it’s not clear when construction might begin. 

The company says a demonstration project is needed to guide future development, but the cost to build a couple of turbines offshore is too high. 

In Denmark – which has more than 30 years of experience – experts say driving costs down is the name of the game, and they’re happy to share their secrets with Virginia. 

This year, the federal government said it would give nearly $47 million to each of three states hoping to develop offshore wind power – Virginia, New Jersey and Oregon. 

Virginia said it would partner with Dominion Power to build a demonstration project, but the utility now says it can’t get started, because installing a couple of turbines is too expensive.  Meanwhile, Denmark reports it’s getting nearly 40% of its power from wind.  How did such a tiny country do that, and what could we learn from the Danes? 

Photo by Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices.

The decline of coal mining is a blessing to some and a curse to others. And when it comes to what’s known as ‘mountain top removal’ the disagreement runs even deeper. Appalachia is ground zero for this form of surface coal mining. And while it’s only a small percentage of all coal mining, opponents are calling for it to stop.

“Appalachia has so much potential, but we can’t realize that potential if we continue to poison our water and destroy our mountains."

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