Unmasking the Virginia Clean Economy Act


A recent Op-Ed by Del. Richard (“Rip”) Sullivan lauds the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) which mandates requiring the construction of wind and solar electricity facilities in Virginia.

His editorial criticizes a recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the price which can be charged by renewable electricity suppliers in the interstate market.

He claims the FERC decision assaults “basic free market competition”.

In essence, FERC’s new rule states that when electricity generated by renewable providers is sold in interstate markets, the price must reflect all of the subsidies provided by Virginia to these suppliers, so that these suppliers will not compete unfairly with electricity generated by existing sources.

And what a vast array of renewable electricity subsidies there are: production tax credits, investment credits, property tax exemptions, rebates, loan guarantees, residential tax credits, job creation credits – the list goes on. FERC stated, that failure to consider the impact of these subsidies would result in obvious price distortion, and violate the FERC mandate to assure that prices are “just and reasonable and not discriminatory or preferential”.

Sullivan is upset, as the primary patron of VCEA, this will prevent solar and wind being the sole providers of electricity in Virginia. Think California!

What is “renewable” electricity costs to consumers without these subsidies?

Sullivan states that under the FERC Order, we “will suddenly be forced to supply wind electricity at an artificially inflated price, twenty times higher than the maximum price” allowed by FERC.

Twenty times higher! Without all the subsidies, renewable generated electricity costs consumers twenty times more than electricity supplied by existing sources.

No wonder he is upset. FERC just exposed exactly what VCEA will cost us in order to achieve the fantasy of all wind and solar electrical generation in Virginia by 2035.

This letter originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • Johnson has spent the last four decades working in the public and private sectors in Virginia, primarily in the fields of project finance and maritime transportation. He began his career in public service as Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Port Authority. He was appointed by President George W. Bush, and confirmed by the Senate, as a member of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and most recently, as Administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. In that capacity, he became knowledgeable in the field of climate and its impact on the Great Lakes. He currently serves on CFACT's Board of Advisors. Johnson holds a B.A. degree from Yale University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.

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