Virginia’s ‘Clean Economy Act’ will have dirty results

850-foot-tall turbines, 3.5 times DC covered with solar panels, mining, child labor, pricey power

Paul Driessen

Largely with party-line, urban-vs-rural votes, Virginia’s legislature is poised to enact a Clean Economy Act that would eliminate coal-based electricity generation, prevent construction of new gas-fired power plants – and replace reliable, affordable fossil energy with wind, solar and battery-backup power. The bill offers important cautionary lessons for voters, workers and consumers in Virginia and across the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw has said Virginia has “a climate problem, and you can’t fix it for free.” However, the climate crisis is mostly exaggerated, imaginary or based on faulty computer models. Worse, the “fix” will be pricey on many levels, but won’t make an iota of difference to the global climate.

The USA has actually had fewer violent (F3-5) tornadoes the past 35 years than during the previous 35, and not one in 2018. Hurricane frequency and intensity has changed little since 1850 – except that the USA enjoyed a record 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes, 2005-2017. After rising some 400 feet since the last Ice Age, seas have been rising at just 7-12 inches per century for over 150 years, and a lot of apparent sea level rise is actually land subsidence, including around the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area.

Water, ice and water vapor have vastly greater influences on Earth’s temperatures, climate and weather than do carbon dioxide and all the other atmospheric gases combined, Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore notes. The oceans have 1,000 times more heat than the atmosphere. Clouds both trap heat and reflect incoming solar energy. And scientists still cannot separate human from natural factors in all this.

But Virginia Democrats insist there is a climate crisis, and are determined to ban fossil fuels to end it.

Virginia’s “carbon-free” bills would shut down some 6,200 megawatts of coal-based electricity and ban construction of new gas-fired units. Meanwhile, China already has 900,000 MW of coal-fired power plants, has another 200,000 MW under construction, is planning an additional 150,000 MW (all in China), Greenpeace reports, and is building or financing numerous coal and gas power plants in Africa and Asia. India already has hundreds of coal-fired units and is planning nearly 400 more. China and India are building or planning to build hundreds of new airports, and to put millions more cars on their roads.

So even if CO2 does play more than a trivial role in climate change, Virginia’s actions might reduce future warming by an undetectable 0.001 to 0.01 degree. The bill’s details are revealing, and troubling.

The nearly enacted law would close America’s newest and cleanest coal-fired power plant, unless it can slash CO2 emissions 83% by 2030, using still unproven “carbon capture and storage” technology. But even if it worked, that technology would cost millions per year to operate – and require a third of the power plant’s electricity output to operate. Talk about not being free, especially for local residents.

To replace the eradicated electricity, Virginia energy companies would install 5,200 MW of offshore wind turbines – apparently GE 12 MW Haliade-X turbines manufactured in a new factory in Guangdong Province, due south of Wuhan. That would require 433 of these behemoths, each one rising 850 feet above the waves some 27 miles off the Norfolk-Virginia Beach coastline, in 50-70 feet of water. (For comparison, the Washington Monument is “only” 555 feet tall.)

Constant saltwater and frequent storms will corrode the turbines, causing them to perform worse every year. Actually getting 5,200 MW of electricity would require that the 433 turbines operate at 100% of rated capacity 24/7/365. If they work only half the time, Virginia would need 866 monster turbines.

Climate activists and Big Wind developers expect up to 30,000 MW of offshore wind along the East Coast by 2030. At 100% capacity, that’s 2,500 gargantuan Heliade-X turbines! The impacts on radar, aviation, submarines, surface ships and fishing would be enormous. Turbine blades would kill countless birds. Vibration and infrasound noise would impair whale and dolphin sonar navigation systems for miles.

Since these turbines would be in federal waters, the Interior Department, National Marine Fisheries Service and other federal agencies must fully and carefully evaluate their cumulative impacts on all these human activities and environmental values. They must also address the cumulative impacts of all the global mining, processing, manufacturing and other operations required to build and install the turbines.

These monster windmills will require millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, rare earth elements, carbon-fiberglass composites and other raw materials. Obtaining them will require removing billions of tons of ore and associated rock, in new or expanded mines all around the world, but probably not in the United States. Wind (and solar) energy would be almost totally dependent on foreign materials, components and finished products – mostly Chinese or Chinese owned. Pollution, workplace conditions, land and habitat destruction, child labor and human rights violations, cancers and other terminal diseases among workers and local communities, would be rampant, and abhorrent to most Americans.

Right now, there are few or no derrick barges capable of installing 12-MW turbines. Imagine how long it will take to install 400 to 2,500 of them along the East Coast – and repair or replace them as they age, or after a huge storm like the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 wipes out offshore electricity generation.

The Clean Economy Act states that another16,100 MW of fossil fuel replacement power would come from photovoltaic solar panels. Based on data for a 400 MW Spotsylvania County, Virginia solar operation, those panels would completely blanket a land area up to 3.5 times larger than Washington, DC.

Arizona conditions don’t exist in Virginia. Clouds, nighttime, and sub-optimal sunshine during much of the day and year make it likely that these millions of panels will actually generate little more than 3,200 megawatts – unpredictably and unreliably. To get the full, legislated 16,100 MW of electricity, Virginia would have to cover up to 18 times the land area of Washington, DC with panels. That’s 700,000 acres.

The Virginia legislation (HB1526 has passed both chambers) also requires that utility companies “construct or acquire 3,100 megawatts of energy storage capacity,” presumably batteries. This is confusing, since batteries don’t generate electricity (megawatts); they simply store power generated by coal, gas, nuclear, wind or solar sources (megawatt-hours, MWh). If the legislators mean 3,100 MWh, Virginia would need 36,500 half-ton Tesla 85-kilowatt-hour battery packs, requiring still more lithium and cobalt sourced from places with terrible environmental and human rights records.

Will Virginia require that its wind, solar and battery materials and components be responsibly sourced? Will it require independently verified certifications that none of them involve child labor, and all are produced in compliance with US and Virginia laws, regulations and ethical codes for workplace safety, fair wages, air and water pollution, wildlife preservation and mined lands reclamation? Will it require that any supposed social costs of carbon recognize the social benefits of carbon-based fuels and carbon dioxide?

Getting power from offshore wind and eastern region solar facilities to communities on the western side of the 2,200-mile-long Appalachian Trail will require many new transmission lines across the trail. Environmentalists adamantly oppose gas pipelines that would pass 700 feet beneath the trail. How will they respond to multiple transmission lines and towers crossing the trail and impairing scenic views?

Wind, solar, battery and biofuel alternatives are simply not clean, green, renewable or sustainable. The Clean Economy Act represents greenwashing, virtue-signaling and government control at their worst. It replaces reliable, affordable electricity with expensive, unreliable power. Simply declaring, as this Virginia legislation repeatedly does, that all these actions are “in the public interest” does not make it so.

Eliminating fossil fuel electricity means lighting, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, computing and other costs will soar – for families, hospitals, schools, churches, businesses, factories and government agencies. Local, state, US and global environmental impacts will skyrocket, with no climate benefits.

In Virginia and across America, liberal cities and counties have given “sanctuary” to illegal immigrants, including repeat criminals. Numerous conservative Virginia communities have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. Perhaps it is time for them to resist the onslaught of climate alarmism and pseudo-renewable energy fantasies – by declaring themselves fossil fuel sanctuaries, as well.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues.

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March 4, 2020 10:14 pm

As long as the Warmistas are just talking and writing they are on solid ground but when they are called upon to think, calculate and act, they are all at sea.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
March 5, 2020 5:16 am

Indeed. The only way folks we realise this kind of BS for what it is, is for some ‘brave’ states to play crash-test dummy for the rest of us, as happened in S. Aus.

Perhaps it is time for them to resist the onslaught of climate alarmism and pseudo-renewable energy fantasies – by declaring themselves fossil fuel sanctuaries, as well.

Bring it on. The quicker the better. We NEED some real observational data on how catastrophic this all will be because ignorant lefty pseudo-ecologist activists would rather listen to an voluntarily uneducated 16y.o. and refuse to believe what career long engineers tell them about how energy supply and distribution works.

If Virginia wants to nominate itself for this suicidal, self-sacrificial role , then they should be given all the encouragement they need.

But let the costs be on their heads. That is part of the experiment. Don’t expect a bail-out after screwing up. The pain is part of the test experiment. We need to see the real “social cost” of this path.

Bryan A
Reply to  Greg
March 5, 2020 2:17 pm

Begin by Immediately severing their ties to Grid Sourced Electricity.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
March 6, 2020 5:48 pm

Someone calculated the fossil fuel energy required to build and install these monster turbines, and guess what, the monster will NEVER make enough energy to replace the energy consumed in its creation and installation. DUH. A NET LOSER at every stage.

March 4, 2020 10:26 pm

Maybe the Collapse of Civilization predicted by Sir David Attenborough will come to pass after all, caused not by the rising fossil fuel emissions of humans but by the declining intellect of humans.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  chaamjamal
March 5, 2020 6:11 am

Looks to me like the declining education level, at least here in the U.S., is going to be enough!

Reply to  Joe Crawford
March 6, 2020 1:43 am

Inverted hockey stick

March 4, 2020 11:24 pm

“The Virginia legislation (HB1526 has passed both chambers)…”
These legislators are completely insane!!!

March 4, 2020 11:29 pm

Well someone’s got to try it. Go for it! You can lead us to the promised land. Or provide a lesson to avoid. I’m always in favor of someone else doing that.

Andy Mansell
Reply to  Jerry
March 4, 2020 11:49 pm

Yep- I was hoping it would be the Australians, (sorry guys), that we could sit back and watch slide into the dark ages and then hopefully avoid the same fate, but to be honest, now I’m so sick of all this lunacy that I don’t care who tries it. It’ll still be funny watching them all run around panicking, wondering why they’re so cold, why they can’t charge their smart ‘phones, why there’s no one to make their soy lattes and avocado toast…

Reply to  Andy Mansell
March 5, 2020 1:05 am

Yeah, thanks but no thanks. Our Australian Government has difficulty locating it’s own backside with both hands and a gps so even if they did legislate our doom they would do a terrible job of it and that remains my hope for all Governments.

I think it’s fair to say that Governments generally are absolutely terrible at doing anything significant either efficiently or cost effectively. I can only imagine that all of these rampant changes will necessitate participation from the private sector and that’s where it will all fall apart. They will run out of money long before very much gets built and nothing dampens enthusiasm quite like running out of money.

Every project Government has been involved in in recent history has ended up costing significantly more than original estimates so it isn’t hard to imagine that any climate mitigation plans will end up as an underfunded, inadequately planned, poorly executed dog’s breakfast.

It’s just a shame that so much money will be wasted in the process. In Australia we already several solar farms that have gone broke and are left as blots on the landscape. These are testament to the beautiful symbiotic relationship between Government and the private sector.

I’d like to think most of these pie-in-the-sky ideas would fall apart before they got far into them. Especially when people start to realise how much it will hurt their wallets and how none of it makes a scrap of difference to the climate.

Reply to  Pete
March 5, 2020 10:44 am

They can’t do insignificant things efficiently or cost effectively either.
It’s just that the insignificant things don’t hurt as much.

Reply to  Jerry
March 5, 2020 11:32 am

You’re right: the fifty state laboratory with firewalls to isolate and mitigate catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

shortus cynicus
March 4, 2020 11:39 pm

This is what defines fascism: nothing without the state, nothing against a state.

If you like your private capital, you can keep it, but aggressive thugs will dictate what you can do with that, or else…

Reply to  shortus cynicus
March 5, 2020 5:20 am

Don’t count on them letting you keep your private capital. Negative interest rates, bank crashes and the ensuing “bail INs” will take most of what you have .

Reply to  Greg
March 5, 2020 10:45 am

At least nobody has proposed seizing all 401Ks in order to bankroll Social Security in the last decade or so.

Russ Wood
Reply to  MarkW
March 7, 2020 7:38 am

In South Africa the ruling ANC is worried about the massive debt that the national power system (ESKOM) has built up. Since Eskom is now broke, the ANC thought that it might be propped up by using the Government-controlled pension funds of the civil serpents. And since the ‘defined benefit’ pensions are backed up by the taxpayer – why not just burn through the pension funds? After all, there’s always the private citizens’ funds to raid…
Watch out for socialists when they finally DO run out of “other peoples’ money” – yours will be next!

March 4, 2020 11:54 pm

I am afraid the only way the general public are going to learn the costs of going green is to let the experiment in Virginia run its course.

Reply to  StephenP
March 5, 2020 12:22 am

Why not do a simple and inexpensive experiment before embarking on any of the expenditure: just shut all the coal-fired stations for selected days, and ask for public feedback. If the authorities won’t do that, the coal-fired stations should get together and do it themselves. The alternative is a slow walk into oblivion (for both the coal-fired power stations and all their customers, personal and corporate).

Reply to  Mike Jonas
March 5, 2020 11:15 am

The UK already performed that experiment for you.

We have only 5 coal power plants left and have run our grid for weeks at a time last year without using them. By May 1st 2021 we will have only three left.

Reply to  griff
March 5, 2020 3:02 pm

Thank god for all that French nuclear power that’s keeping your system from crashing.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  MarkW
March 5, 2020 7:05 pm

and the dutch coal

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MarkW
March 6, 2020 1:45 pm

And American wood chips sent to Drax power stations.

Reply to  StephenP
March 5, 2020 1:05 am

One state, Virginia in this case, can go completely wind powered and get away with it. Tiny Denmark is wind powered. How do they get away with it? They are connected to the European grid so they have all the German coal plants backing them up.

What would happen if the entire north-east went with wind power? Well, they are connected to Quebec Hydro so they might get away with it. That’s very good for the Quebec economy and very bad for America’s balance of payments.

Reply to  commieBob
March 5, 2020 3:21 am

There’s no way that Quebec Hydro could generate enough power to keep the north-east of the US running.

Reply to  Hivemind
March 5, 2020 3:58 am

From the link I provided:

Hydro-Québec’s 62 generation facilities — all but one are hydro plants— can produce 36,500 megawatts, enough to power 36.5 million homes. By comparison, the operator of New England’s power grid, ISO-New England, puts total generating capacity in the six states at 31,000 megawatts.

Plus, Quebec and Labrador have lots of room for expansion.

Bryan A
Reply to  commieBob
March 5, 2020 2:22 pm

Looks like Virginia might have a location for ALL THOSE SOLAR PANELS they will require then…Thanks Quebec

Reply to  commieBob
March 5, 2020 5:20 am

I misspoke.

In Denmark’s electricity sector wind power produced the equivalent of 47% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption in 2019 … link

On one particularly lucky day, they got 140% of their electricity from windmills. link

Reply to  commieBob
March 5, 2020 10:11 am

Even with the amount of storage mandated by the law, there is no way Virginia can supply all of its load on wind AND solar. They cannot “get away with it.” It is also a part of the PJM interconnection that links the state to over 140,000 MW of generation in surrounding states. So the demand can be served by pulling un-green power from surrounding states, which makes this plan disingenuous.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  StephenP
March 5, 2020 5:05 am

I agree – but for the experiment to be a true test, Virginia must disconnect from the rest of the grid so that they cannot get backup power from any source outside of VA.

Gary Hodges
Reply to  Barnes Moore
March 5, 2020 5:11 am

My exact thoughts and should be part of the legislation.

Iain Reid
March 5, 2020 12:16 am

This can only end in tears.
It is plain when people intend to replace conventional generation with wind and solar that they believe that the electricity generated is the same as that from convention power plants. It is not, it is inferior from a grid operations point of view.
Conventional power generators have inertia, which is necessary for a stable supply and to help overcome transient faults or sudden loss of input. Batteries can help in such a situation but you need a large capacity to be effective making it expensive and also batteries, stating the obvious, do not generate, they need to be charged and there will certainly be a time that they will be discharged and required to supply power.
Virginians can expect more blackouts and with little conventional capacity, those blackouts will be of a longer duration as wind generators generally cannot do a black start. Where are the power engineers in Virginia; suppressed by the legislature?

Reply to  Iain Reid
March 5, 2020 1:38 am

Ian wrote: “This can only end in tears.”

You are correct and so is Paul Driessen.

As an energy expert, I say this plan cannot work – it will be a costly disaster. It will fail due to the intermittency and diffusivity of wind and solar power. Battery storage will not solve the problems. The grid will crash from time-to-time unless out-of-state power interconnects are adequate to prevent it. This plan will waste billions and will ultimately be scrapped

I hate needless waste: To date, green energy schemes have wasted trillions of dollars worldwide, increased energy costs, destabilized the grid, and increased winter deaths, especially among the elderly and the poor.

With few exceptions, existing green energy schemes should be scrapped and no new ones built. Future generations, who will pay for this nonsense, will wonder at the incredible stupidity and corruption that caused this debacle.

My expertise is energy – while I may not know everything, I know a lot more than anyone who voted for this debacle and their advisors, and I have a much stronger track record. This plan will fail.

Regards, Allan

Ron Long
March 5, 2020 2:32 am

Right you are, Allan, and thanks to Paul for this article. How do environmentalists justify chopping up and/or cooking our flying fiends? I have several times urged interested persons, whichever side that interest is, to find a long line of wind turbines in a grassy environment, usually along a ridge line to gain a little venturi effect, and walk along under the turbines on an early Monday morning. The mangled and dead birds will be obvious, but look closely and you will see insects and bats also.

March 5, 2020 5:09 pm

The last time I remember a grid crash was the 2003 Northeast blackout. link It took a long time to get the grid back up. They promised they’d fix the control system so it wouldn’t happen again.

What are the chances they will create a grid so unstable it stays permanently crashed? System stability is a design consideration in all kinds of situations. The goal is to create a system that isn’t unconditionally unstable.

Q – How do you build an oscillator?
A – Try to build an amplifier.
Q – How do you build an amplifier?
A – Try to build an oscillator.

I wonder if there’s a power systems equivalent joke.

March 5, 2020 12:23 am

These insane legislators must be held to account when it all goes belly up.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
March 5, 2020 10:49 am

If the past is any guide, no matter how bad the coming crash is, the leftists will find some way to blame capitalism and will proclaim that only more government can solve these problems.

March 5, 2020 1:15 am

These fascist legislators will not survive ( politically ) the 2020 elections… MAGA !! : )

Ivor Ward
March 5, 2020 1:40 am

They won’t ever be held to account because they will retire before it all goes wrong and then do a Maduro and blame everyone else for their failure to be good Socialists and implement “The Plan” properly.

March 5, 2020 1:47 am

Paul’s article outlines many avenues for lawsuits that would tie up any construction for decades. So, even though as a significant shareholder in Caterpillar, which would benefit from all the irrational mining, and actually seeing much benefit from seeing the Virginia/DC area freezing to death in the dark, I expect the lawyers will mostly benefit from tying up the idiocy before any real money is wasted. But hopefully not before the utility companies stop investing in maintenance and expansion, so their grid becomes very unstable.

old construction worker
March 5, 2020 3:16 am

Sound like Home Natural Gas Generators will be flying off the shelves.

Reply to  old construction worker
March 5, 2020 10:52 am

The problem with that is supply. If a significant fraction of homes buy Nat Gas generators, then every time the power goes out, demand for nat gas will sky rocket.

It’s a safe bet that like NY, the legislators will not permit the utilities to expand the nat gas delivery network.

geoff p
March 5, 2020 3:31 am

Did they forget about closing VA’s nuclear plants the source of 20 pct of the state’s energy?

March 5, 2020 3:38 am

A recent article claimed that the amount of carbon required to build these enormous windmills
would not be offset by operating the wind turbines for 26 years, which is probably their lifespan. Thus they will have zero ability to reduce any carbon in the atmosphere. Virginia has the world’s largest pumped storage in bath County, used for evening out the demand/supply for their nuclear power plants. Virginia has 4 conventional nuclear plants, which produce 31% of her power (3568MW capacity – operating at 95%). There was another plant approved for North Anna but never built, due to lack of need. If built it would increse nuclear share to around 40%. Virginia has no appreciable hydro power or geothermal power. The future of power is NOT reneable, but molten salt small modular nuclear reactors, which should commercialize mid to lat 2020’s. They can be built rapidly and can produce power cheaper than anything except cheap natural gas (around 4 cents per kWhr, levelized). Anyone proposing future power generation without considering molten salt proves themselves worefully ignorant of power technologies. Of course citing MW output capacity as storage capacity already demonstrates the abject ignorance of the govt officials currently mishandling Virgini’a future

Reply to  ColMosby
March 5, 2020 5:18 am

re: “The future of power is NOT reneable, but molten salt small modular nuclear reactors, which should commercialize mid to lat 2020’s. They can be built rapidly and can produce power cheaper than anything except cheap natural gas …”

Can you provide any examples of any pilot projects that demonstrate any facet of the above assertions?

Beta Blocker
Reply to  ColMosby
March 5, 2020 7:32 am

Molten salt small modular reactors (SMRs) are nowhere close to commercialization.

New reactor designs will require NRC approval, they will need a firm customer willing to fund them, they will need a proposed facility location, and they will need a project team capable of delivering that new reactor design on cost and on schedule to the funding customer.

And, the molten salt SMR’s will also need a commercialized means of managing their own unique end-to-end nuclear fuel cycle over the course of their working lives, a commercial capability which does not yet exist in the United States.

On the other hand, NuScale’s 60 Mw SMR design, which uses half-height conventional fuel rods, is already well down the difficult pathway which must be traveled to become a commercially workable SMR design.

The NuScale SMR design uses the legacy fuel cycle. NRC approval of the NuScale SMR design is on schedule for completion this fall. Fluor, an experienced player in nuclear construction, is a major project funding source and will be the EPC constructor if the first NuScale project is approved by the customer, UAMPS. Energy Northwest, an experienced nuclear facility operator, will run the plant. A site is reserved in eastern Idaho with the first units going operational in late 2026 or early 2027.

It’s not hyperbole to say that the future of new-build nuclear construction in the United States depends on the NuScale SMR design being successful as a commercially viable solution to the difficult problem of keeping nuclear’s capital costs under control.

Ian Coleman
March 5, 2020 4:10 am

The single most pernicious idea currently rattling around in the brains of the gullible is that the transition to alternate sources of power will be cheap. One of those statements that make you weep is that wind and solar are currently comparable in cost to coal. This nonsense is based on comparing operating costs, but ignoring the capital costs of building the power sources and connecting them to the grid. It’s as if you said that a Rolls-Royce and a Chevy Belair cost about the same to operate, and thus there is no great difference in the overall cost of owning either.

The sellers of wind and solar energy systems have zero shame when it comes to deceit. How many times have you seen the phrase, wind and sunshine are free, from which we are supposed to infer that, once generators are installed, they quickly pay for themselves because the “fuel” is free? Let’s invest in sailing ships and make the cost of ocean travel so cheap that we can all go to Hawaii for a few hundred dollars apiece. Let’s build an array of solar panels, because no one needs electricity at night.

George Davey
March 5, 2020 4:11 am

The rest of Virginia should defect from the big city hippies.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  George Davey
March 5, 2020 5:12 am

They are not “big city hippies”, but “big city thieves” attempting to steal from the very large middle class that stupidly elected them. The thieves called Democrats are put to the task to enrich their controlling billionaire class which “bought” them in the elections with massive PAC campaign cash duping the people with Liberal lies.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 5, 2020 9:55 am

Expect another round of climate refugees fleeing Virginia for States with more affordable energy. Also, expect Virginia’s energy policies to become a drag on tax payers from other States.

Samuel C Cogar
March 5, 2020 4:26 am

Excerpted: “ Virginia’s “carbon-free” bills would shut down some 6,200 megawatts of coal-based electricity and ban construction of new gas-fired units.

OH MY, ….. then Virginia won’t be needing this NG …… and will probably “outlaw” the following.

Mountain Valley is one of two major pipeline projects under construction through West Virginia. The other is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which has also experienced significant delays and cost increases. MVP would extend 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline over 303 miles to transport West Virginia natural gas into southern Virginia.
Read more here

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a planned 42 inch natural gas pipeline slated to run 600 miles (970 km) between West Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Construction of the pipeline began in West Virginia on May 23, 2018
Read more here

Joel O’Bryan
March 5, 2020 5:05 am

When will people wake to the fact that electing Democrats and giving them power is like putting the mafia in charge of a bank?
Democrats self interests have nothing to do with maintaining a resource (the economy) but milking for everything they can for more power. The class that will be hurt the most by their fleecing are the very people who elected them based on lies about climate, as they run their crony capitalist scam to enrich the Green Slime billionaire class. Is it any wonder lowlife slime like Steyer and Bloomberg are desperate to defeat Trump and turn the US economy over to their power-hungry Democrat thieving lackies they “bought?”

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 5, 2020 11:30 am

One of diverse protection rackets operating under their special and peculiar religious, ideologically divergent, and socially just (i.e. relativistic) sects.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 6, 2020 4:30 am

West Virginia’s Legislature was overwhelmingly Democrat controlled for more than 70 years and has always been “sucking hind teat” behind the other States. All of the State’s ‘natural resources’ (coal, lumber, veneer timber, oil, natural gas) were shipped out-of-state by the “robber barons” who ensured the Democrats remained in power.

When Hillary Clinton, Mike Bloomberg, Green Peace, etc., launched their attacks to “shut down” all coal fired power plants and coal mining …… and to put all coal miners out of work, West Virginia went Republican and supported Donald Trump.

I once told a partisan Democrat that it was the Democrat controlled Legislature that was the reason WV was so poor, uneducated and undeveloped.

His response was, …… “It’s not the Democrat’s fault, …… its the Republican’s fault for not being elected as Legislators”.

Gary Hodges
March 5, 2020 5:07 am

And Atlas shrugged…..

Coach Springer
March 5, 2020 5:59 am

This does not resemble “reason” for the following reasons: They aren’t satisfied with improvement, they attack existing / established, cheaper and most effective production in its totality, they charge ahead without reliable alternative, and their stated objective of a “natural” climate will be immaterial if not indiscernible. Also, all of their changes in energy production would not take place based on economics and efficiency and are supported only by political force.

This is misdirected, do-gooder BS where they can pat themselves on their backs regardless of environmental result.

Michael S. Kelly
March 5, 2020 6:00 am

Great, but depressing, article, Paul. I fled California in 2008 (one year too late), ending up in Maryland. It quickly became California East. I then fled to Virginia in 2014.

This state has been very good in many respects, but especially in its energy infrastructure. Our electricity is provided by Novec, a cooperative that is one of the best-run companies I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been CEO of a couple myself). Their annual stakeholder meetings even attract hundreds of Virginia residents, and are a great social event. But I digress.

For a 3,500 square foot home, we pay an average of $150 a month for electricity. Considering the air conditioning load in summer, which is sometimes staggering, this is simply phenomenal. In California, my 4,400 square foot house sometimes gave me an electric bill of $1,200 a month. After I left, and the house was unoccupied awaiting sale (for a very long time), the electric bill was $110 a month – and that when nothing electric was on!

Now Virginia is succumbing to this leftist madness. Novec is a company, and supplies what it thinks its customer base wants. Up until now, that has been super-reliable electric power at the least possible cost. Now, I fear, they will want to supply politically correct actions – not electric power, and forget cost.

I fear that this state is hopelessly lost, and my wife and I will have to find a new one that isn’t yet insane so that we may live out our last years in something like comfort. But part of me wants to stay and fight, so that the value we have built in our property isn’t destroyed by lunatics such as the Democrats currently in power. At age 65, I just don’t know if I have it in me.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
March 5, 2020 10:55 am

“ending up in Maryland. It quickly became California East. I then fled to Virginia in 2014”

While I feel your pain, with your track record could I kindly ask you to steer clear of my state?

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  MarkW
March 5, 2020 2:30 pm

I have, according to Obamastatistics, a 1 in 57 chance of that.

March 5, 2020 6:03 am

Paul writes very good essays.

March 5, 2020 7:12 am

Germany’s failed climate goals should be a wake-up all for governments everywhere, but American cities that are moving to ban natural gas scarily resembles Germany’s failed climate goals. Germany, Australia, and Denmark are fighting it out for the honor of paying the highest prices for electricity which is contributing to growing populations of homeless and poverty.

America is following failed efforts, instead of first discovering an affordable green replacement to the “power” and conveniences currently provided to every known earth-based infrastructure, as well as the thousands of products developed from fossil fuels that dominate most people’s lives in industrialized countries and emerging markets.

Virginia is about to take one giant step toward Germany’s failed climate goals which should be a wake-up call for governments everywhere, but it appears our leaders deliberately intend to follow the German failure.

Reply to  Ronald Stein
March 5, 2020 10:56 am

The socialist mantra goes like this:

This time, we will make it work.

John Shotsky
March 5, 2020 7:17 am

Maybe the total failure of the ‘renewable’ concept will finally lead us into clean nuclear power. It meets ALL of the requirements of the ‘renewable’ crowd, and can be safer than even the infrastructure of the renewables.
Of course, lost in the wind is the idea that if humans were to stop all generation of CO2, it would only drop less than 5%. Over 95% of all CO2 is generated by the earth itself, and absorbed back.
Also lost in the wind is the idea that CO2 even HAS an impact on climate. It has been demonstrated over and over that CO2 FOLLOWS temperature changes, not CAUSES them.

March 5, 2020 7:25 am

The metastatic cancer that is Wash DC spreads slowly but surely into surrounding VA & MD, blighting the land both physically and mentally.

Dave Streeter
March 5, 2020 7:37 am

In my view, the only reason that wind and solar function at all is the connection to a grid which has the built-n capacity to handle a few percent of load variation. Absent that, wind and solar are not very useful. I am a former plant engineer with years of experience in industrial energy use.

john york
March 5, 2020 8:12 am

“Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw has said Virginia has “a climate problem, and you can’t fix it for free.”’

Just give us ALL your money and we’ll fix it.

Reply to  john york
March 5, 2020 10:57 am

If that doesn’t work, can we try fixing them?

EdA the New Yorker
March 5, 2020 8:16 am

Notice how VA is attempting to march in locked goose step with NY. First, of course, is the “red flag” legislation to remove firearms from law-abiding citizens, then comes grid destabilization with windmills. At least the good citizens of VA have blocked the gun grab for now.

Reply to  EdA the New Yorker
March 5, 2020 8:46 am

Part of the ongoing slow but sure takeover attempt.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  beng135
March 5, 2020 10:14 am

A lot of it financed by Bloomberg.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 5, 2020 10:58 am

I was hoping he’d stay in for a while longer and blow another billion or so. Less money to do damage to the rest of us.

Al Reid
March 5, 2020 8:19 am

If this fails…I should say when it fails…those in charge will not see it as a failure of their very concept and policies, but will just assume they didn’t do enough of it and double down.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Al Reid
March 5, 2020 10:43 am

Al Reid: “If this fails…I should say when it fails…those in charge will not see it as a failure of their very concept and policies, but will just assume they didn’t do enough of it and double down.”

The is just what will be happening, not only in Virginia but also throughout the US Northeast.

Grid reliability problems will emerge in the late 2020’s and become acute by the mid-2030’s. All through this time, the politicians will be shifting blame for what is happening to the power utilities.

And they will be doing it successfully all throughout that period. I don’t foresee the voters in these states waking up to reality until the late 2030’s — if they ever wake up.

March 5, 2020 10:42 am

Will the last person leaving Virginia, please take the light bulbs with you. You might be able to use them where ever you are going.
(no need to turn out the lights, no power left to run them)

March 5, 2020 11:21 am

“Constant saltwater and frequent storms will corrode the turbines, causing them to perform worse every year….

The impacts on radar, aviation, submarines, surface ships and fishing would be enormous. Turbine blades would kill countless birds. Vibration and infrasound noise would impair whale and dolphin sonar navigation systems for miles.”

Funny then that none of these problems are seen with the wind turbines off the UK coast…
Hundreds of turbines, 8 GW capacity plus, with a further 10,579 MW under construction or proposed to be built by 2025, some of them operating now for 17 years.

Nor are these problems seen off the coast of Denmark (where an offshore windfarm was dismantled recently after its planned 20 year life), or off the coast of Germany…)

Reply to  griff
March 5, 2020 3:05 pm

It’s hard to see things when you refuse to look.

Reply to  griff
March 6, 2020 6:09 am

20 yr life — absolutely pathetic. The coal plant I worked at had a unit operating since 1944, and was retired in 2016 because of regulations, not because it couldn’t continue supplying reliable, 24/7 power.

March 5, 2020 11:26 am

The Green blight, and a layer of privacy and political myths obfuscating environmental arbitrage, foreign an domestic, for laundered, renewable, redistributive greenbacks.

Steve Z
March 5, 2020 1:56 pm

Back in 2006, I was working for a company that helps power companies obtain air pollution permits, and there was a project for a new natural-gas-fired power plant in Virginia. One of the major selling points for the project was that the gas-fired power plant would result in the closure of a coal-fired power plant with roughly the same power output, and the emissions of SO2 and particulates would be greatly reduced by replacing the coal-fired plant with a natural-gas-fired plant. The state permitting agency and the EPA didn’t worry about CO2 emissions back then, but they would also have been reduced by switching to natural gas. The new plant was conveniently sited near where an existing gas pipeline and existing high-tension wires crossed.

Natural gas is a lot cheaper now than it was in 2006, thanks to all the natural gas produced in nearby Pennsylvania and Ohio by fracking, so such a project would still make sense today, both from an economic point of view AND from the point of view of reducing air emissions, including of CO2. But in the infinite wisdom of the Virginia legislature under its Democrat majority, such a gas-fired power plant could not be built today.

I wonder if they will change their minds if they have to work by candlelight on a long, calm winter night when there’s not enough sunshine or wind to keep the lights on. Back to colonial times in Richmond! By the way, candles also emit CO2 when burned!

March 6, 2020 6:33 am

The whole mid-Atlantic region is turning into a real… poop show. So sad. Born and raised here, but these are not the people I grew up with.

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