Virginia is responsible for 3.7 million more tons of carbon dioxide to provide electricity to its citizens than when it first joined a multi-state climate initiative in 2021, according to a recent analysis by a former Trump administration official.
Virginia formally joined the 12-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI ) in 2021, imposing a carbon cap on emissions from its in-state power plants and driving a spike in energy imports, David Stevenson, a former member of the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency, argued in a public comment on the a review of the state’s membership within the program, initiated by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Although in-state emissions fell by 6.6 million tons from 2020 to 2022 due to a 12% decline in in-state power production, electricity imports skyrocketed from 12% to 30% of the state’s power demand, generating 10.3 million tons in emissions, Stevenson argued, citing data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency. (RELATED: Biden EPA Proposes New ‘Wastewater’ Regulations To Kill Off Coal Plants)
Virginia has an opportunity to reap additional benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act if we stay in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Sen. Kaine encourages Virginians to weigh in by March 31 on the Governor’s proposal to withdraw from RGGI: https://t.co/QtmIqiACom.
— Sen. Kaine’s Team (@SenKaineTeam) March 8, 2023
“With power demand on the rise, RGGI will force Virginia to become even more dependent on imports, especially during those periods of low or no production from solar or wind,” wrote Steve Haner, senior fellow for the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy. “The whole justification for the new regulatory scheme Dominion Energy Virginia demanded and got in 2007 was to finance a massive program of building in-state generation to reduce dependence on imported power.”
Power companies can purchase carbon dioxide offsets at an auction in order to meet the RGGI’s climate targets, which has thus far generated $590 million for the state of Virginia, Haner reported. In addition to the cost of these auctions, Stevenson estimates that Virginia power companies lost out on roughly $840 million in revenue due to decreased in-state power generation.
Youngkin has criticized the program for amounting to a carbon tax, a notion that supporters of the program reject, according to The Washington Post.
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