Virginia Governor raises cost of energy… when Virginians can least afford it

Guest “post that won’t mention ChiCom-19” by David Middleton

APRIL 22, 2020
By Tim Benson, Aaron D. Stover
If there ever was a time not to enact policies that would cost families, it would be in the midst of an economy-killing global pandemic.

With coronavirus rampaging throughout Virginia, effectively closing the commonwealth’s economy and pushing 306,000 people out of work in three weeks, Gov. Ralph Northam has picked a terrible time to sign into law a group of regressive “clean energy” policies that will harm the roughly 870,000 Virginians who live in poverty by increasing their energy costs.

The first of these policies, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, establishes a renewable energy mandate forcing state utilities to produce 14 percent of their electricity generated from “renewable” sources in 2021, gradually increasing the mandate to 100 percent by 2050.


Representatives of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) testified in the House of Delegates that RGGI could cost Dominion Energy Virginia ratepayers $3.3 to $5.9 billion over the first decade, increasing average electricity bills $84 to $144 per year. The Department of Environmental Quality estimates participation in RGGI would cost Virginians $65 million in 2020.

Enacting this renewable energy mandate and joining RGGI is going to make everything more expensive for working families in Virginia while substantially raising costs for businesses. The average Virginia resident at or below the poverty line already spends around a quarter of their take-home pay on energy costs. Moreover, many small businesses are already in desperate financial positions because they have been ordered to close due to COVID-19.

If there ever was a time not to enact policies that would add to these costs, it would be in the midst of an economy-killing global pandemic. Nobody knows how long the economic recovery will take, but it will surely take longer now that Northam has signed these impractical policies into law.


The Heartland Institute
You can’t get there from here.

Natural gas and nuclear power currently account for 91% of Virginia’s electricity generation. It doesn’t get more “climate friendly” than this in the real world.

Virginia Net Electricity Generation by Source Jan. 2020  
08:37:05 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time)  
Source: Energy Information Administration  Electric Power Monthly 
Category 1,000 MWh %
Petroleum-Fired                   150.2%
Natural Gas-Fired             5,79061.9%
Coal-Fired                 2592.8%
Nuclear             2,75129.4%
Hydroelectric                 1541.6%
Nonhydroelectric Renewables                 3904.2%
Total             9,359 
Natural Gas + Nuclear             8,54191%
Hydro. + Nonhydro. Renewables                 5446%

Currently Virginia’s average residential electricity rate ($0.1169/kWh) is slightly below the national average ($0.1279/kWh). Beyond imposing higher energy costs on Virginians, this is incredibly stupid, because Virginia’s current power mix is just about the most cost effective way to reduce carbon emissions…

Nuclear and gas kick @$$, wind breaks even and solar is a loser.

The dumbest thing Virginia could do would be to deploy solar panels like their neighbor to the south.

North Carolina solar power generating stations.

Despite ranking second in the nation in installed solar power capacity, only trailing the Peoples Republic of California, the Tarheel State generates very few MWh from all those solar arrays.
North Carolina Net Electricity Generation by Source Jan. 2020 
10:06:33 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time) 
Source: Energy Information Administration Electric Power Monthly
Category1,000  MWh%
Petroleum-Fired                     170.2%
Natural Gas-Fired               3,92036.9%
Coal-Fired               1,40013.2%
Nuclear               3,92937.0%
Hydroelectric                   6185.8%
Nonhydroelectric Renewables                   7376.9%
Fossil fuels + Nuclear               9,26687.2%
Nonhydroelectric Renewables                   7376.9%

Virginia’s solar resource isn’t even as good as North Carolina…

Virginia’s onshore wind resource is also pretty feeble…

This pretty well means that Virginia plans to go whole hog on offshore wind…

Smart move, Governor Northam, almost a smart as your college Halloween costume.

LCOE = Levelized costt of electricity.

At this time, I don’t know of any specific Virginia offshore wind prospects. There has been a lot of talk about Vinyard Wind, offshore Massachusetts. Despite public announcements of $65-75/MWh power purchase agreements (PPA), Vinyard Wind, Massachusetts’ first approved offshore wind project, has an estimated levelized revenue of energy (LROE) of $98/MWh, more than twice the LCOE of natural gas.

An extensive accounting of the PPA price schedule and expected revenue sources inclusive of those that are exogenous to the reported PPA is conducted in this study to estimate the project’s levelized revenue of energy (LROE). This allows for a more equivalent comparison of the reported PPA pricing with bottom-up modeled (unsubsidized) levelized cost of energy (LCOE) estimates. The reader should note that this analysis solely reflects the opinions of the authors and was conducted independently of the ongoing evaluation by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources of the PPA between Vineyard Wind LLC and Massachusetts electric distribution companies as filed on July 31, 2018. The analysis and conclusions described herein do not reflect actual cost data, which are confidential to Vineyard Wind and its partners.

The total calculated LROE from the Vineyard LLC/EDC PPA is estimated to be $98/MWh (2018$). This LROE estimate for the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the United States appears to be within the range of LROE estimated for offshore wind projects recently tendered in Northern Europe with a start of commercial operation by the early 2020s. This suggests that the expected cost and risk premium for the initial set of U.S. offshore wind projects might be less pronounced than anticipated by many industry observers and analysts.

Doubling the cost of electricity for Virginians for no apparent reason… Ron White would say…

Maybe that’s why Northam is trying to nullify the Second Amendment.

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April 23, 2020 6:18 pm

Governor Northam is clearly a fanatical, convinced but misguided Warmista who sees the present Covid-19 crisis as a golden opportunity to advance the ‘Climate Change’ Chimera at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of workers who have been stood down in Virginia, by raising their energy costs. What a Sadist.

George Daddis
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 23, 2020 6:36 pm

He’s not just a Warmista (and I’m not sure he’s that committed).
But he sure is a full fledged Progressive; he’s used the virus as cover to enact a whole slate of Progressive initiatives including REVOKING voter ID in areas where it was required and instituting Constitutionally questionable gun control laws.

Reply to  George Daddis
April 24, 2020 1:09 am

POLITICO. Equill brainless,idiot ,

Reply to  George Daddis
April 24, 2020 3:50 am

All this passed the legislature well before the virus became a thing, it is just the first time, the crazy arm of the democratic party won control of the house, senate and governors office, they went crazy. A few things were defeated because rural dems worried about their seats, but very very few. Decades of effort to remove stupid laws and policies from VA, gone in one sessions.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 23, 2020 9:28 pm

After the photo of Northam’s blackface costume came out (see David’s link above to the photo), and he barely kept his job, the obvious price of his being allowed to remain VA Governor and his pound of flesh they are extracting is to do whatever they tell him to do.

Joel Snider
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 24, 2020 8:19 am

He’s got that higher morality – it doesn’t matter what he’s doing to the citizens – he’s saving the planet – and it’s their fault anyway, so whatever happens, they had it coming.

You gotta admire the courage of a leader who thinks his people need to be punished and is willing to enact it.

Reply to  Joel Snider
April 25, 2020 4:13 pm

That’s the result of a 1 term limit on Governors. They never have to think about getting re-elected. I suspect a lot of these dimocrats will be thrown out next election, and a lot of these idiotic rules will go with them. They will need Federal permission for all his wonderful offshore wind projects, and I don’t think that will be forthcoming from PDJT.
Also, his wonderful gigantic wind turbine, that they claim is the most efficient machine in the world, has a small problem. Someone did a study of ALL the fossil fuel inputs necessary to mine the metals build the machine, transport it to its site, built the ship to install it, pour the 80 f.t foundation to hold the tower, and lay the cables to connect it to the grid on land. It TAKE MORE FOSSIL FUEL to do all this then the wonderful machine will PRODUCE IN IT’S LIFETIME! DUH!

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
April 24, 2020 11:16 am

Northam is a dedicated committed progressive toady bought by Bloomberg, Steyer and Soros.
Many of his team and state representatives and senators were elected by aggressive vote harvesting.

A major reason why Northam is ripping out the regulations and infrastructure necessary for citizen identification and verification.

Northam’s renewable fascination is:
A) Total submission to Wall Street and globalists earnings from virtue signaling investments. State citizens be d_mned.

B) Complete acceptance of Steyer’s anti-fossil fuel nonsense.

C) Aggressive denial of Constitutional rights as viewed by Bloomberg (including using Bloomberg’s legal designs and implementations) and Soro’s stripping citizens of self defense abilities and mechanisms.

D) Aggressive implementation of DNC, Pelosi’s, and leftist progressive’s legal citizen downgrading to peons and serfs.

Without a functional FBI coupled with a totally subservient corrupt Virginia State law enforcement it will be difficult to re-establish citizen control over Virginia

April 23, 2020 6:20 pm

Elected green leaders should be physically using 100% wind and solar. By this I mean physically hooked up to wind and solar only. And off the grid.

Sun not shining? Wind not blowing? Use battery storage.

Call it a pilot project. To demonstrate how easy it is and flush out problems.

Oh, don’t forget to charge your electric vehicle.

Reply to  joe
April 24, 2020 5:39 am

I am convinced that the ones screaming loudest about “STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES!” are the ones who will never ever be affect by a sour economy. In other words, people who would still live rich and fat even in a depression.

I am also convinced that the people who are the biggest experts in any field are the people with the least amount of experience in it. (Sarcasm intended.) For example, the people who know best on how farmers should grow crops and ship them to grocery stores are people who have never touch dirt except for a potted plant. What I mean by all this is that this “going green” nonsense looks good on paper, but in the real world it does not work. Yet the people who have absolutely no experience in how these things work in the real world are telling us what we need to do for the environment. No matter how expensive electricity gets, it will never affect these people. Therefore, in their myopia they cannot understand why it does not work.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Wade
April 24, 2020 10:53 am

‘I am also convinced that the people who are the biggest experts in any field are the people with the least amount of experience in it’

I would suggest that these people are myopic to the exclusion of all other considerations, which results in a total lack of perspective.

April 23, 2020 6:22 pm

Have you watched the new movie on YouTube: Planet of the humans Please check it out

George Daddis
Reply to  Sid Abma
April 23, 2020 6:39 pm

Sid, try to keep up.
There is a current article on Michael Moore’s movie on page 1.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Sid Abma
April 23, 2020 6:45 pm

I’m still trying to figure out Moore’s game

He’s all in for the Green New Deal, supporting Bernie and AOC

Is he trying to sabotage Biden by showing once and for all that all the energy aspects of the green new deal are lies?

Biden has said he supports GND, with qualifiers.

Moore has said again and again how getting rid of trump is the only thing that matters
But this movie has to hurt the Dems come November?

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
April 23, 2020 7:44 pm

It may be the sign of a true geek that you unflinchingly follow the truth (as you perceive it). link

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
April 23, 2020 7:58 pm

From what I have heard from those with strong enough stomachs to actually watch it, Moore goes all in for population control and mandatory lifestyle reductions, since renewable energy doesn’t work.

Reply to  MarkW
April 23, 2020 9:03 pm

And how do you impose those things on the American people? Nullify the US Constitution … on the basis of “public safety” … like an endangerment ruling. Like having more than 1 child “endangers” the planet. Like one family living in more than 800 sq ft “endangers” the planet. And of course consumerism driven capitalism “endangers” the planet … so, that too must go. Welcome to Democratic Communism.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Kenji
April 24, 2020 12:33 pm

Sadly, it seems that sort of thing can be done – and largely supported – at the drop of a hat.

Reply to  MarkW
April 24, 2020 9:04 am

It’s a good thing. Moore points out that wind and solar won’t work. As a result, people can no longer fool themselves into thinking they can have their CO2 cake and eat it too. When people understand what’s being demanded of them, support for CAGW measures will collapse.

I can’t find the link but, IIRC, people are willing to spend a only a pittance to reduce CO2.

Joel Snider
Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2020 1:13 pm

‘people can no longer fool themselves into thinking they can have their CO2 cake and eat it too’

I don’t know – people can fool themselves into thinking an awful lot.

April 23, 2020 6:26 pm

You don’t have to be a bully in a bar to kick people when they are down. You do have to be a corrupt politician to sign economy crippling legislation that would not have passed in the open when people are watching.

The left has shown their true character and it ain’t good.

April 23, 2020 6:39 pm

Tie him down and make him watch the Michael Moore movie “Planet of the Humans”.
Maybe he would believe Michael Moore…but I doubt it.


Paul R Johnson
April 23, 2020 6:49 pm

I am always skeptical of LCOE estimates that do not account of the non-dispatchable nature of renewables. It’s like comparing the cost of lighting a room with electricity versus just opening curtains to let the sunshine in. Clearly the latter is much cheaper, but it only works part of the time and can’t be counted on when you really need it.

Reply to  Paul R Johnson
April 23, 2020 8:07 pm

Brilliant. Sunlight is free, so why do you have light bulbs? That question is sure to annoy the warmistas in our lives. They may end up explaining the importance of dispatchable energy before they realize what they’ve done. 🙂

Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2020 11:33 am

And the worst of it is this law requires all of the dispatchable power stations that emit CO2 to shutdown by 2045, including all of the recently constructed, gas-powered combined cycle units with efficiencies up to 60%. But that’s OK. They’ll just import dispatchable power from the surrounding states and pay through the nose for it.

Ronald Bruce
April 23, 2020 6:59 pm

Well he is a warmist communist and their aim is to destroy the American economy starting with his own state and then implement their One World communist government.

Tom Abbott
April 23, 2020 6:59 pm

Virginia’s Democrats are outdoing the other Democrats in their radicalism. A person would have to be really stupid to vote a Democrat into office.

This governor gets away with appearing in “blackface” and thinks a birthday abortion is perfectly acceptable. And this guy is running the State of Virginia. Into the ground.

Sane Virginia voters should put on their masks and keep their distance and go protest this insult to humanity (the governor, and the Democrat legislature).

Michael S. Kelly
April 23, 2020 7:24 pm

(Soon to be former) Governor Ralph Northam continues his power-mad rampage, “banning” elective surgeries until he feels like unbanning them.

We buy our electric power from Novec, a cooperative, and one of the best-run businesses I’ve ever seen. My wife and I go to their annual meetings whenever we can, and they’re marvelous (and heavily attended). Last month’s electric bill was (wait for it) $89. That’s for a 4,000 square foot house – admittedly occupied by only two people, but for the past month and a half, occupied full time. I haven’t had an electric bill that low since I was a grad student at Purdue in 1980, living alone in a 1.5 room, 300 square foot apartment.

There are two recall initiatives in place against the guv, but none has the teeth of the one I intend to mount. I’m retired from federal civil service, and have the wherewithal to bring a case against this bastard for violation of the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. And I’m bored enough to do it…

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
April 23, 2020 7:48 pm

I hope you win, Michael. These policies are disastrous.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
April 23, 2020 8:10 pm

I know there are many good people like you Michael in Va. But you have become so badly out numbered in recent years. I wish you the best.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
April 23, 2020 9:36 pm

Go for it Michael!

Please teach Governor Northam the meaning of the phrase, “Beware the wrath of a patient man.”

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
April 24, 2020 4:26 am

Good luck, Michael. But I not that Novec does not generate its own electricity and, therefore, may be vulnerable to Northam and other VA/US regressives changing laws that force Novec to buy from within VA. One also wonders, given how low their delivered prices are, what subsidies Novec is getting that could disappear if the occupying forces in Richmond chose to punish the Rebels in Loudon County.

April 23, 2020 7:54 pm

It is a shame to see this happen to Va. But the demographics are dominated by NOVA. The people who populate NOVA are mostly Gov employees. Many have six figure incomes and are set up with full benefits and lucrative pensions.

Reply to  KT66
April 25, 2020 11:02 am

Ahhh. The first post that understands the swamp creatures and their indispensable invisible write in voter. The swamp will keep getting bigger and bigger, as the deficit slowly eclipses the GDP but they don’t worry because they’re the chief beneficiaries. They answer to no one and are loaded for life.

John F. Hultquist
April 23, 2020 8:35 pm

Ralph Northam is not a serious person.
He should fast track about 5 Nuke facilities.
Pick the spots by July 4th of this year and get them completed in sequence,
one every two years.
First one completed by July 4th, 2025. ( then 2027, 2029, 2031, 2033)

Before saying it can’t be done, make a list of the government actions of Panic 2020.

Abolition Man
April 23, 2020 8:43 pm

Surely we can postulate on a connection between Gov. “Blackface” Northam and ChiCom-19? If nothing else it’s great fun watching Progressive heads explode like a watermelon meeting a 12 gauge slug.
It truly seems the DemoKKKrats are into their end game now; the Green Raw Deal and a bailout for the red states circling the bankruptcy drain. Govs like Northam, “Half” Whitmer and Cuomo seem intent on pushing their constituents to the brink of revolt. These actions may be the biggest backfire in US political history, but I fear we are going to see a MASSIVE voter fraud campaign in 2020 as the DemoKKKrats realize they cannot survive another four years of our VSGPDJT without a large portion of their illegal behavior being exposed! We are at a crossroad with one direction sinking down into a Venezuela-like state and the other rising to a restored republic. Thank you for trying to point others onto the high road!

Intelligent Dasein
April 23, 2020 8:56 pm

Once a generation of real men takes over, they’re going to have a hell of a time undoing the damage wrought by all these Boomer progtards.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Intelligent Dasein
April 24, 2020 6:09 am

I hear the Boomers’ testosterone levels are higher than subsequent generations.

April 23, 2020 8:57 pm

Business as usual for these Demon Crats then?
Those deplorable poor people they know so much about “helping” are obviously revolting and not poor enough.
We could go a long way to restoring sanity to government by correcting the right to vote.
If you take from the public purse,you cannot have a say in governments (theft by force).
For that is a direct conflict of interest and based on results has corrupted the vote.
For when your paycheck depends on not understanding simple finances,you will NOT understand,if you want to keep that paycheck.
Who cares that there is only one taxpayer,if that taxpayer is never going to be you?

J Mac
April 23, 2020 10:13 pm

You can show graphs and argue until you are blue in the face. Northam isn’t listening, won’t listen, and doesn’t give a damn what the physics and engineering data says. He has his socialist agenda and he has the power to force it upon the Virginia citizens. That’s what’s happening and he will force even more of his criminal socialist agenda just as fast as he can. The forceful exercise of power is his operative method now.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  J Mac
April 24, 2020 6:12 am

” He has his socialist agenda and he has the power to force it upon the Virginia citizens. That’s what’s happening”

That *is* what is happening.

Phillip Bratby
April 23, 2020 10:41 pm

Why do so many stupid people become politicians and then enact stupid policies?

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 24, 2020 6:00 am

Because smart people have real jobs!

Unfortunately some of the smart people figured out that rape and pillage is a good way to make money and they are the ones pulling the strings on the public puppets.
That point at least is made clear in the Moore movie.

Just think about who (personally) benefits from these regulations and then you’ll understand that these are not ‘stupid’ policies but rather specifically designed to benefit someone’s bankaccount, or other interests.
Its just to bad that other people (and the environment) have to suffer because of it, but as long as you are living the good life who cares?

Hopefully many more people will realize that they have been lied to and reconsider who they vote for next.

Stay safe,

Ethan Brand
April 24, 2020 5:34 am

Thanks David

I have noted before that the Virginia Legislation specifically includes nuclear in the future mix.
“Development of North Anna Unit 3 was placed on hold after Dominion obtained regulatory permission from the NRC to build and operate an additional unit at the site in 2017.” (Wikipedia).
NA3 is ready to build. I anticipate that one of the results of this legislation will be for NA3 to go ahead. While I am a fan of Nuclear Power (my profession for 20 years), a new one is pricey compared to natural gas.

My “prediction”:
Virginia will build and or contract for lots of wind and solar…which will inherently be unable to provide dependable base load supply. North Anna 3 will be built. NA3 (and NA1 and NA2) along with Surry would be able to provide nearly 50% of the base load in Virginia. Natural gas will make up the difference for the undependable wind and solar. The only difference between now and 10 years from now will be the cost of electricity in Virginia…ie nearly 50% more expensive. “Ecoeconomics”….:)

Ethan Brand

April 24, 2020 6:51 am

I’m so glad I don’t live in a mandate state. I’ll also think twice about visiting one.

April 24, 2020 6:51 am

Look carefully at the maps above, click on the link, more than 1/2 of the population lives in areas where the availability of either solar or wind are 1/10th that of the peak areas, the areas that the proponents of this farce brag about. It took over ten years for NY to get approval for a transmission line from Canada to NYC, and another to build it. To move all of the electricity from the hot spots on the maps to the cities and states where it is used. Thousands of new lines will be needed. The cost will be ten time that of the entire Interstate Highway system using 2020 dollars instead of 1960 dollars. The towers for these will be larger than the largest you have seen, or worse, the will be underground DC Transmission – Megabucks for each. The protests against this will make the ones against the latest oil pipeline look like a picnic.
My brother built a home in the suburbs, appraised at $300,000. Two years latter the built a transmission line through the field behind his house. The appraised value of every house that could see that line droped by about 1/3rd, but not their property taxes.

April 24, 2020 6:59 am

Around the world as lockdown eases the shell shocked survivors emerge , like the survivors emerging from the bunkers in many a european city in WW2, and wondering what is left standing in the ruined financial landscape. Are jobs, banks, businesses still there? . In some cases houses and apartments may be literally , not metaphorically, blown away if jobs are permanently lost.
But wait , what is that figure on the horizon , is it the Governor bringing a corps of reconstructionists , delivering hope and sustenace?.
No, it is indeed the Governor but he is heading a squadron of tanks to destroy any last financial bastion .
Whose flag is he flying under : that of the Republic of Virginia? Hardly .
Elsewhere the same tactics apply. Whilst stil in the peak of Wuhan disease deaths in the UK, the Govt brings forward its plans to eliminate gas heating and power, the cheapest for those dispossessed of jobs, and outlaw all but electric cars – which will only be affordable by the well-off, amongst other ruinous demands from implementation of the Climate Change Act.
As Money goes to Money , so Evil goes to Evil.

Curious George
April 24, 2020 7:45 am

Virginians – run! Or elect sensible people.

April 24, 2020 8:55 am

We need to change the way we use energy.
This could mean no electricity or home heating for the working class and lower middle class. Or just part time.
The way of the green future, now that renewables have been debunked.

Reply to  Billy
April 24, 2020 1:19 pm

“We need to change the way we use energy.”


Andy Pattullo
April 24, 2020 10:53 am

Having viewed with interest Michael Moore’s new film my first thought is “follow the money”. If there is an explanation for this madness somewhere it will be in someone’s back pocket in the form of a sweaty, greasy, unearned wad of large unmarked bills.

April 24, 2020 7:59 pm

Offshore wind turbines headed to Virginia”

Northam is in a hurry to destroy Virginia’s energy infrastructure.

Russell Johnson
April 25, 2020 6:45 am

Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia legislature-Working 24/7 to make Virginia– California East.

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