A cooperative formed by Old Dominion Electric announced on Wednesday its plan to build a coal power plant will be delayed. The plan was to build the plant in Hampton Roads and supporters of the delay say it is a sign that Virginia may be on track to experience a future that includes placing a priority on clean energy sources.
Coal is considered one of the ‘dirtiest’ sources of energy available. Halting the current plan to build a coal power plant in Hampton Roads will provide everyone involved the opportunity to consider other ways to serve the energy needs of Virginians. The hope is the cooperative can settle on an energy source that will be less expensive and more friendly to the environment.
The plan to build the $6 billion power plant at a location in Surry County has been opposed by Wise Energy for Virginia since the plan to build the plant was first announced. The organization has been able to garner the support of thousands of Virginians who are concerned with issues like air quality, mercury in state waters, and actions that contribute to global warming.
The ongoing shift from fossil fuels to clean energy sources is picking up steam throughout the United States. A Sierra club report says that more than a hundred plans for coal plants have been scrapped in the country over an eight-year period. It has also been noted that clean energy jobs are growing faster than most other job industries in the country.
In the Hampton Roads case, ODEC says it has no plans to give up on building its Cypress Creek Power Station. The cooperative says it is only pausing to monitor pending regulations concerning greenhouse gas emissions. Opponents of the ODEC plan say no reason exists to think the cooperative will ‘see the light’ without a little encouragement.
Leaders for Wise Energy say it is important for citizen involvement to remain as high as it is now. The organization says it also important that both ODEC and officials at the state and local level understand the importance of energy efficiency. The organization says it would not be difficult to achieve the same energy production with wind, solar, or another sustainable source of energy.
One major factor in the determination shown by Wise Energy in the fight against the plant is the health of Chesapeake Bay. The EPA, a number of states, and other organizations are currently working to clean up the bay. However, the new coal mine would cause 3,000 tons of additional nitrogen oxides to end up in the bay on an annual basis.
The plant would also increase the risk for Virginians who like to eat seafood. The plant would become an immediate producer of large amounts of the neurotoxin mercury that would be dumped into local waters. The carbon footprint for the plant annually would be 11.6 million tons. This would contribute greatly to global warming.
A 2008 report commissioned by the governor on global warning predicted Virginia sea levels would rise from 2.3 feet at the time of the report to 5.2 feet by the turn of the century.
Wise Energy says it was a good decision on the part of ODEC to use the pause button and reconsider its options for the proposed plant. The organization says it is willing to work with ODEC to find cleaner energy alternatives, produce jobs in the community, and keep electricity bills affordable for local citizens.
Wise Energy also says it intends to make sure Cyprus Creek is added to the list of planned coal energy plants that were abandoned.
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