Breakthrough! A Main Utility Says Web Zero Might Not Be Dependable — Watts With It?


By David Wojick

Dominion Energy, the big utility in Virginia, has finally admitted that net zero may not work. I’ve been writing about Dominion operating under the Net Zero Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) for a while. VCEA calls on Dominion to shut down all gas, oil and coal-fired power plants by 2045.

My point was that VCEA cannot be done. Now Dominion has met me halfway and said in their new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that it might not be possible. So far, so good.

In their new 2022 IRP, the VCEA compliance plan is called Plan D. Here’s how Dominion puts it in summary:

“Plan D results in the company purchasing 5,000 MW of capacity in 2045 and beyond, raising concerns about system reliability and energy independence, including over-reliance on out-of-state capacity to meet customer needs. Over time, as more renewable energy and energy storage resources are added to the system, the company will learn whether Plan D can sustain a reliable system.”

See their

First, note that they’re hoping to buy a whopping 5,000 MW of juice when things get tight with the renewable energy they have to use. This is really funny because in their 2021 IRP they specifically said that buying juice is a bad plan because every nearby utility plans to do the same. Therefore, there will be no sellers of this juice. Now plan it!

It gets worse. As I’ve previously reported, Dominion’s VCEA plans fall far short of the battery storage needed to make proposed renewable energy reliable. See my “Dominion VCEA Compliance Plan is Catastrophically Unreliable” below

Plan D plays the standard trick of quoting battery storage in MW, aimed at making batteries look like generators. MW is actually discharge capacity, not storage capacity. Imagine buying orange juice this way. Tropicana has a spout twice the size of Minute Maid, but that’s not what you’re buying. You buy the juice, not the pouring speed.

So Plan D has about 27,000 MW of solar, but only 9,000 MW of storage. Assuming standard 4-hour batteries, this gives only 36,000 MWh of storage capacity. That stores the sun for just over 1.3 hours, which doesn’t even come close to getting you through the night. cloudy days? Forget it.

So Dominion’s VCEA compliance plan assumes massive amounts of juice is coming from elsewhere, which isn’t the case, plus battery storage that won’t get you through the night. To say that this “may not work” is ridiculous, but it’s a huge step further than ignoring the fact that it won’t work, which all major American utilities have done.

Remember, the big utilities are making fortunes playing the fake net zero game. They make a guaranteed profit on every approved dollar they spend on mandated renewable energy that doesn’t work reliably.

The big utilities have no incentive to ditch net zero, but at least Dominion has said it might not work. But of course their faint “time will tell” warning keeps them spending untold billions on useless renewable energy.

Speaking of spending billions, there’s another trick worth noting in IRP. Another standard scam is discounting future costs to present value.

Dominion says VCEA-compliant Plan D will cost just over $88 billion. That’s $88,000,000,000. A lot of money, right? Well, not compared to actual costs.

The way this works is that you first calculate future costs, say what people are going to pay in 2040. Then do what amounts reverse compound interest by subtracting a percentage each year from then (2040) to now (2022 in this case). . This is the discounted value.

Obviously, the discounted value is much less than what Dominion’s customers will actually have to pay in 2040. We are not told how high this amount is. But the total cost of Dominion’s VCEA compliance is more likely to be $200-$400 billion, not “just” $88 billion.

The good news is that Dominion is finally admitting that net-zero VCEA may not work. The bad news is that Dominion Energy will spend hundreds of billions of interestpayers’ money before VCEA’s inevitable failure becomes apparent.


David Wojick

David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. See for origins

For over 100 previous articles for CFACT see

Available for confidential research and advice.

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