Front Porch Blog

Progress in Virginia coal plant fight: ODEC announces postponement!

Old Dominion Electric Co-op announced today that it plans to postpone for up to two years pursuit of air pollution permits for the massive new coal plant it is proposing. Appalachian Voices, as part of the Wise Energy for Virginia coalition, has been working for over a year to stop construction of this Surry County plant. The proposed 1500 megawatt plant, if built, would be the largest coal-fired power plant in the state and would burn mountaintop removal coal. The exciting news about the delay shows the progress we are making in opposing the plant. The fight is far from over, however, and we need your help to make sure this plant never gets built.

Though ODEC’s plans are delayed the company is working to advance the plant at the local level and is seeking water pollution permits from the Army Corps of Engineers. Please click here to write the Army Corps today to ensure a critical evaluation of ODEC’s purported need for this massive plant.

September 8th, 2010 · No Comments


September 8, 2010

Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition calls on ODEC to permanently withdraw delayed coal plant proposal

The Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition lauded Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s announcement today to delay plans for what would be the largest coal-fired power plant in Virginia. The temporary halt will allow the company, its customers, government officials and the conservation community to explore alternatives that will cost less and cause less harm to the environment.

Dendron, Va

Dendron, Virginia

The coalition has long opposed the $6 billion coal plant and has mobilized tens of thousands of citizens across the state who are concerned about air pollution, mercury poisoning of waters, mountaintop removal coal mining and the consequences of a warming planet. Since 2002, plans for 133 coal-fired plants in the U.S. have been dropped for economic, environmental and other reasons, according to the Sierra Club.

ODEC, according to its press statement, is delaying the project for a coal plant in Surry County by one-and-a-half to two years. The coalition today called on the utility to pull the plug on the coal plant altogether and instead commit to deploying more energy efficiency resources and to pursuing cleaner sources of energy, including offshore wind and solar. These sources of energy would more than offset the 1,500 megawatts from the delayed plant.

Appalachian Voices:

“The degree of citizen opposition to the plant is clearly more than ODEC bargained for. Opponents in Dendron and Surry County really made their voices heard. When the Surry County Planning Commission took this up, at least 200 people showed up and the great majority of speakers opposed the plant. This gives ODEC a sense of what to expect if it pursues state and federal permits and they can already see the opposition building in the greater Hampton Roads area and among their retail co-ops’ ratepayers,” said Tom Cormons, Virginia Director.

Chesapeake Climate Action Network:

“We are encouraged that ODEC recognizes that inevitable carbon pollution regulation will continue to make fossil fuels an incredibly poor investment. As ODEC continues to voice their commitment to this plant, we will continue to make every effort to obstruct this project while pursuing alternatives like energy efficiency and renewable energy sources,” said Mike Tidwell, CCAN director.

Sierra Club:

“This is a prudent pause by ODEC. With the advances in efficiency and renewable energy this delay allows ODEC to keep their options open,” said Glen Besa, Virginia Director of the Sierra Club.

Southern Environmental Law Center:

“All Virginians-watermen on the Chesapeake Bay, downwind families affected by smog and soot pollution, ODEC customers who would be facing higher electric bills to pay for the new plant-can breathe a sigh of relief, but this is not over. The coalition remains engaged in the permitting processes before the Army Corps of Engineers and elsewhere, and we hope to work with ODEC on the clean energy alternatives that produce jobs, keep electricity rates down, and reduce harmful air and water pollution,” said SELC senior attorney Cale Jaffe.

Also, this just in from the Daily Press.

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  1. Derek on March 9, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Boy Sandra, you are incorrect. We have plenty of coal supplies in this country. Mountaintop removal is used because A: Its cheaper and B: It is a lot safer then underground mining. It has NOTHING to do with lack of coal supplies.

    At the moment, only Nuclear and Natural Gas can supplant Coal for baseload power. Solar and Wind cannot, and will not ever replace those three. I say continue using Coal, but focus more on Nuclear Power and Natural Gas. Truthfully Nuclear Fusion is the future, but we have to be patient and no resort to knee jerk choices that may end up costing us billions in dollars and thousands of jobs.

    Also don`t use energy efficiency lightly. Efficiency and clean/renewable are not interchangeable words. Solar Panels are only 12 percent efficient. Nuclear around 24, Coal around 30 and combined cycle plants can reach 50. Capacity Factor is more important in electricity generation anyway.

    Bill Clinton is a politician, not a engineer. Grain of Salt

  2. sandra on September 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Hi John, coal will never be clean and carbon-neutral as all the bilboards in West Virginia claim. Coal IS carbon and its cooking our planet. Coal has to be removed out of the ground, and especially as coal supplies are quickly declining, more extreme methods like mountaintop removal have to be utilized. They are moving 20 tons of earth for every ton of coal. It is one of the biggest earth-moving activities in the world.

    To address your jobs concern- renewables and energy efficiency are providing more jobs every day, without the extreme environmental concerns that coal presents (everything uses resources, I recognize, but its a matter of scale). I would actually encourage you to watch this Bill Clinton interview to see how we can produce jobs in clean energy.—bill-clinton-extended-interview-pt–1

  3. john jones on September 13, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve contributed to a few environmental causes. I consider myself an environmentalist. I also work for and around coal fired power houses and have lived amongst them for all my life. I suffer no health effects and enjoy the evening air out on my porch. I’d be opposed to alot of things being built in my neighborhood. Chemical plants,pulp plants and the like. But the coal industry has spent over 20 years cleaning up it’s act and still you want them to be shut down? These are good American jobs. These plants require constant maintenance that creates more jobs. What jobs will there be once the solar panels are installed or the wind mill goes up? Small in comparison. You’re ideal world is one in which fewer and fewer families will be able to survive.

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