Virginia is blessed with wind – in the mountains and along its shores, so you might expect this state to jump quickly into the business of generating electricity from turbines.
Likewise, there’s plenty of sunshine, but Dominion Virginia Power’s preferred plan for 2027 shows just four percent of our electricity coming from renewable sources. Appalachian Power will be at 9% by 2020, but most of that energy will come from existing hydro-electric dams.
Despite concerns about climate change, Virginia’s largest electric utility still generates more than half of its electricity from fossil fuels, and by 2027 Dominion Power expects to get nearly 60% of its power from coal and gas.
The state’s other electric utility, Appalachian Power, is also big on carbon-based fuel. By 2020, parent company AEP says 79% of its power will come from burning coal and gas.
It’s been sixty years since the first solar panel was developed by Bell Laboratories, and more than twenty years since the first solar plant began feeding power into the grid in California, but here in Virginia there are fewer than a thousand households producing and selling electricity back to Dominion Power.
Wind turbines are also rare, but reports that could change quickly if government and the public got on board.
There’s a big weekend ahead for those who love trees, with a Historic Tree symposium in Charlottesville, a lecture in Blacksburg, and an Old Growth Forest walk at Montpelier.
James Madison’s family thought nothing of clearing the woods around their plantation in 1723. In fact, most Americans viewed trees as an impediment to farming, but a convenient source of building materials and food. Later in life, Madison would come to regret that view. Horticulturist Sandy Mudrinich reads what he had to say on the subject.
Teachers from New York to West Virginia are taking their classrooms to a remote island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Students get hands-on environmental learning while experiencing some Lord of the Flies moments.
Eighteen seventh graders from rural Virginia are dredging for oysters on a windy, cold day. A few are seasick but when the oysters are hauled up they rise to the occasion.