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. 

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Critics say Virginia lags behind neighboring states in the development of wind and solar power, in part because lawmakers are influenced by two monopolies – Dominion and Appalachian Power. 

It’s more profitable for them to stay with fossil fuels and nuclear power, and the state requires them to keep prices down, but supporters of renewable energy say lawmakers are coming around.

According to Virginia Dominion Power the average monthly residential electric bill in the state is $119.82 a month. 

With the deep temperatures of winter and depending on our heat source we can find bills for a single month two to three times that amount.

But there's a method of home construction that for one homeowner has cut their electric bill by more than half the state average.

“Our typical energy bill is actually as low as $40 to as high as $62 to $65 so far. Our annual energy usage is so much lower than a standard home’s”  

The European Union is pushing member states to go green -- offering incentives and requiring that utilities cut their carbon emissions and increase their use of renewable energy sources by 20%.  That sounds like a noble goal, but it may be having unintended consequences in Virginia and neighboring states – consequences that have some environmentalists up in arms. 

Southwestern Virginia is home to one of the most botanically diverse forests in the temperate world....where roughly 7 out of every 10 acres here is forestland.  Some loggers say the best way to preserve this bounty for future generations is by logging it… carefully.