To reach our climate goals, we need to start closing coal plants. Often missing from the discussion, however, is how this energy transition is impacting the communities whose economies have historically been dependent on fossil fuel resources. While these communities may be trying to prepare for the shifting economic winds, they cannot do so effectively if they don’t know when the storm will hit.
The Virginia Clean Economy Act will likely result in the closure of more than 40 carbon-emitting power plants across the Commonwealth in the next 30 years stretching from Wise to Accomack counties, including facilities in Prince William and Loudoun counties. Many will close well before the required deadline as a result of market forces and in order to meet carbon reduction requirements. While these closures mean cleaner air and water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, they also mean lost jobs and tax revenue for the localities.
A recent report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) urged more transparency regarding the least cost-effective of Dominion’s plants, the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, which accounts for approximately 15-20% of the tax revenue for Wise County. IEEFA researchers found that “such transparency will be vital to ensuring that Wise County has the tools and information necessary to engage in transition planning—in partnership with Dominion—to prepare for the plant’s closure and site clean-up.”
[Suhas Subramanyam and Chelsea Barnes]