Dominion Resources Inc. believes proposed federal carbon emission regulations could potentially impact electric reliability, is unfair to the state and Virginians could see a substantial increase in their electric bills.
The Richmond-based energy company, the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest utility, submitted its concerns Wednesday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed Clean Power Plan regulations.
The company’s response is similar to what Dominion Resources previously has said about the regulations, which were proposed in June.
The agency has proposed rules cutting carbon emissions from existing power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 in an effort to fight climate change, improve public health and provide affordable energy.
Dominion Resources said that it has a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that already has produced significant results.
The average carbon dioxide emissions rate — or carbon intensity — for all the company’s owned generation fell by about 39 percent from 2000 to 2013, the company said. The carbon intensity for the power stations serving Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power fell by about 19 percent during the same period.
The company said it was able to achieve those reductions by constructing clean, modern, diverse power generation.
But Glen Besa, Virginia director of the Sierra Club, said Dominion is “misleading the public in talking about ‘carbon intensity’ reductions. Dominion is actually proposing to increase its total carbon pollution emissions by as much as 30 percent or more over the next 15 years, reflected in its Integrated Resource Plan that was approved by the State Corporation Commission earlier this year.”
Dominion Resources also said EPA’s proposal needs to provide equity among the states. For instance, the company said Virginia already is a low-carbon state, but would have to reduce its emissions intensity by 38 percent, yielding a goal for Virginia that is significantly stricter than its neighboring states. Those targets create an economic and competitive disadvantage to states like Virginia that have already significantly reduced emissions, the company said.
But Besa said Virginia lags behind neighboring states in efficiency and use of solar and wind energy because Dominion Resources blocks clean energy initiatives.
Dominion Resources also raised concerns with the EPA about customers seeing a significant increase in electricity rates by 2025 under the agency’s proposal.
The State Corporation Commission staff analysis this month showed that the EPA’s proposed regulations would “increase substantially” the bills that all 3.6 million Virginia electricity customers pay for their power and could significantly affect the reliability of electric service.
The SCC staff “conservatively” estimated that complying with the EPA’s proposed carbon emission rules would likely cost Dominion Virginia Power customers alone an extra $5.5 billion to $6 billion.