The Feb. 23 editorial “Loosening up on Dominion ” got it right when it endorsed legislation introduced by Del. Ronald A. Villanueva (R-Virginia Beach) and Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) that would bring an efficient, market-based approach to meeting Virginia’s goals under the Clean Power Plan — the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rule for reducing carbon pollution linked to climate change and rising sea levels.
But the editorial missed a bigger point: The EPA’s plan is poised to save Virginia families money on their utility bills and create industries in the state. Our office’s analysis of federal data, compiled by the research firm ICF International, shows that electricity bills could fall by 8 percent over the next 15 years, thanks in large part to savings from energy-efficiency programs.
Virginia will see gains in efficiency because it’s the low-hanging fruit. The online publication WalletHub ranks Virginia 35th out of 48 states analyzed in home-related energy efficiency . Ending that waste would not just be great for consumers; it would also be a boon to job-seekers. Retrofitting existing buildings, to give one example, saves money, reduces carbon pollution and creates jobs that cannot be outsourced.
The best way to prepare for the Clean Power Plan would be to capitalize on these kinds of clean-energy savings now.
Cale Jaffe, Charlottesville
The writer is director of the Virginia office of the Southern Environmental Law Center.