Posts Tagged ‘Wise Energy for Virginia’

New Campaign to Bring Clean Energy to Virginia

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 - posted by Rachel

On Aug. 27, Appalachian Voices and our partners in the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition launched “New Power for the Old Dominion,” a statewide campaign to bring smart energy choices to Virginia. The campaign will organize citizens to urge electric providers, energy policy officials and state lawmakers to increase investment in cleaner energy generation, ultimately creating jobs and protecting the natural resources of the state.

The campaign kickoff included the release of a report offering an alternative to Dominion Virginia Power’s 15-year plan, which relies on new fossil fuel generation while ignoring the vast potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy in Virginia.

“Dominion is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and with its preferred resource plan, will continue to remain so for the indefinite future,” says David Schlissel, the lead author of the report.

The case for new power in Virginia could not be clearer. As coal companies that use mountaintop removal mining practices and utility companies that burn coal pass the costs of their pollution on to nearby communities, they also lobby against proposed improvements to the state’s outdated energy policy. Due in part to air pollution from coal-fired power plants, Richmond was named the asthma capital of America by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

The New Power report shows that there is significant potential for clean energy in Virginia. Among other findings is that opting for a plan that adds almost 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy and conserves nearly 3,000 megawatts through energy efficiency would cost between $633 million and $1.78 billion less than Dominion’s current plan to build two natural gas plants.

To educate citizens about the benefits of clean energy, the campaign includes a series of presentations given around the state and a petition to state lawmakers and the state corporation commission, which sets Virginia’s energy policy.

“All the pieces are in place except the political will,” says Kate Rooth, Appalachian Voices’ campaign director. “That’s where the New Power for the Old Dominion campaign will make a difference, in growing a statewide citizen movement to press our leaders to make this a reality.”

New Power for the Old Dominion is the next chapter of years of successful organizing in Virginia. Member groups of the Wise Energy Coalition have defeated a 1,500-megawatt coal plant in Hampton Roads that would have consumed massive amounts of mountaintop-removal-mined coal in 2012, and prevented a 1,200-acre mountaintop removal mine atop Ison Rock Ridge in Wise County.

Read the New Power report and learn how to organize a presentation in your community at

Political winds shifting for renewable energy in Virginia?

Friday, December 7th, 2012 - posted by nathan

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Interior announced plans to sell leases for the development of wind energy 27 miles off of Virginia’s shores and another lease block off of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If constructed, these would be the first offshore wind generation facilities in the United States.

English offshore wind farm

September 2010: Vattenfall opened the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, off England’s southeast coast. Photo by Nuon

While Virginia is far from a frontrunner in the wind energy industry, or renewables in general, we have an undeniably perfect location for offshore wind. We have a unique combination of strong steady winds and shallow waters far beyond the visual horizon. Along with these physical attributes, the historically coal-focused political climate is also beginning to warm to the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy.

In fact, both likely gubernatorial candidates – Ken Cuccinelli on the Republican side and Terry McAuliffe for the Democrats — have expressed an interest in making changes to the law that has failed to spur development of the renewable energy industry in Virginia over the past five years.


Victory in Virginia ODEC Coal Plant Fight! | Participating In the Democratic Process

Friday, October 19th, 2012 - posted by molly

Victory in Virginia ODEC Coal Plant Fight!

Members of the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition rejoiced recently over news that plans for the state’s largest proposed coal-fired power plant were put on hold.

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, the third largest power utility in the Commonwealth, announced earlier this fall that it was suspending the permitting process for its proposed coal plant in the Hampton Roads area of Surry County. The 1500-megawatt, $6 billion plant would have been the state’s largest polluting power plant.

Appalachian Voices and the other four members of the coalition aided residents in a fierce, years-long battle to stop the proposed plant. The coalition credits mounting citizen objection, including pressure from ODEC’s own customers and shareholders — as well as declines in the coal market — for this long-awaited common sense decision. More than 8,000 people signed a petition to the Army Corps of Engineers opposing the plant.

“The suspension of plans for this plant, which would belch as much carbon dioxide as about 2 million cars, is a great sign for the fight against climate change. We look forward to seeing ODEC move away from fossil fuels and toward a future powered by wind and solar energy,” said Beth Kemler, Virginia state director with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a coalition group.

Coalition member groups hope to work with ODEC on projects that provide more affordable and climate-friendly sources of energy for its customers, and pledge to keep a close eye on the utility to ensure it does not revive the coal plant proposal in the future.

Participating In the Democratic Process

At the beginning of September, Appalachian Voices headed to the front lines of our democracy at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

During the week, we handed out hundreds of “I Heart Mountains” buttons and engaged countless people on the need to end mountaintop removal coal mining, protect our waterways under the Clean Water Act, and transition Appalachia to a cleaner energy future. Joined by Tennessee resident Ann League, we walked the long halls of the convention arena and talked with dozens of lawmakers and leaders, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Dr. Matt Wasson, our director of programs, joined Ann League and Catawba Riverkeeper Rick Gaskins to participate in a televised panel discussion on the tragedies of the coal cycle, from mountaintop removal mining to the disposal of coal waste. We attended another special panel on the “Future of Energy” to support Sen. Ben Cardin, a champion of the movement to end mountaintop removal and transition away from coal.

Tennessee Director JW Randolph (right) meets former presidential candidate and retired General Wesley Clark.

Appalachian Voices also teamed up with Greenpeace to host a special “Bourbon, Bluegrass and a Better Future for Appalachia” reception at the New Gallery of Modern Art in downtown Charlotte.

The event was a smashing success, with impassioned calls to end mountaintop removal and rousing endorsements of our work from special guests including Sen. Cardin, green jobs guru and AV’s Board Advisory Council member Van Jones, and North Carolina Representative Pricey Harrison.

This marked the first time that AV brought our message to a national political convention. We also applied to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa but were not awarded passes to that event.

For pictures and full updates, visit

Coming Soon: 5th Annual Weekend in Wise

Friday, September 21st, 2012 - posted by molly

The 5th Annual Weekend in Wise County, hosted by the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition amid Virginia’s treasured Appalachian Mountains, is just around the corner.

October 12 through 14, experience the beauty and culture of southwest Virginia and learn about mountaintop removal coal mining. Participate in tours of mountaintop removal sites, sustainable living workshops, community and expert panels, activist trainings. Also, enjoy local food, live music and dancing!

RSVP: Click here to register today!

The weekend will also feature information on a new campaign to stop an egregious project called the Coalfields Expressway, a 50-mile-long strip mine masquerading as a highway in southwest Virginia.

Not sure if you can make it? Weekend in Wise is worth the journey.

Last September, two whirlwind weeks into the beginning of my service year with Appalachian Voices, the Boone staff told my fellow newbie and I to drive the twisty roads north towards the sleepy-seeming town of Appalachia, Virginia. When we reached the Weekend in Wise headquarters at Appalachia Civic Center, we found a committed community determined to grow awareness of mountaintop removal, strengthen the movement, and have a good time while doing so.

URGENT: Don’t Let Big Coal Poison Virginia’s Groundwater!

Monday, March 5th, 2012 - posted by Appalachian Voices

A dirty bill in the Virginia General Assembly is bad news for the health of Virginia’s groundwater. We urgently need to show state senators that clean water for the Commonwealth is more important than cost-cutting measures for the coal industry!

A bill, HB 710, has been introduced into the Virginia General Assembly that would allow the coal industry to dispose of toxic mining waste in empty underground mines in Virginia – without the consent of the surface landowners.

From there, the waste can leach into groundwater, wells and streams – a major threat to the health of Virginia groundwater. Because of your support we almost stopped this bill last week in committee, but unfortunately it passed by one vote.

HB 710 will be voted on in the Virginia State Senate either today or tomorrow!

Virginians, we need you to take a moment to call your senator’s office and urge him or her to vote against HB 710.

Look up your senator’s phone number at this link and then you can follow the script below.