Group Urges REC to Reverse Coal Fired Energy Approach

Today Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) member-owners  appeared at the electric cooperative’s annual meeting with a clear message:  put energy efficiency measures before dangerous new coal-fired power  generation.  

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), a wholesale power supplier to REC  and the other ten locally owned and controlled electric cooperatives who  jointly own it, is proposing to build a 1,500-megawatt, $6 billion power  plant in Surry County, which would be the largest single coal-fired power  plant in the state. If constructed, the ODEC coal plant, dubbed “Cypress  Creek Power Station,” would be located in close proximity to the Chesapeake  Bay. The plant would emit 118 pounds of mercury, 920 pounds of lead and 11.6  million tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to ODEC’s own analysis.

“Aside from the obvious environmental and public health issues associated  with it, a new coal plant is not needed,” explained Seth Heald, REC  member-owner, who attended the annual meeting. “I came to ask the REC board  to make effective energy efficiency programs REC’s top priority. Planning to  rely on coal for decades makes no sense. Energy efficiency is the cleanest,  cheapest, and fastest way for Virginia to meet its energy demands.”

REC members also expressed concern that the REC board was not adequately  informing members about a project that would likely cost each member  household $8,000 to $13,000 over the life of the plant.

“We have spoken to thousands of people about this expensive coal plant, but  very few even know about it,” said Snow Fielding of Millwood. “Members have  been shocked to find out that more than $30 million has already been spent  on an environmentally-destructive project that isn’t even necessary to keep  the lights on.”

An independent analysis conducted in September 2008 by the American Council  for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that Virginia could  essentially flatten its electricity consumption until 2025 by investing in  cost-effective efficiency measures available today. Under this scenario, power  plants like the one proposed for the Hampton Roads area would not be needed.

“It’s really worrisome that REC would even consider saddling its  member-owners with a heavy financial burden for the next 45 years for a  project that would serve little purpose but to hurt Virginia’s air quality,  emit toxic mercury right near the Chesapeake Bay and significantly increase  the commonwealth’s carbon emissions contributing to climate change,” said  Keith Thirion from Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “It’s just not worth  it.”

For more information, visit


  1. While the intentions of most tree huggers are good, letting them have their way will lead to nothing more than higher electricity costs for everyone because they have no suggestions for alternatives to current forms of power that are cost effective.

    It’d be nice if there was something that we could put in our gas tanks besides gas, or something we could heat out homes without burning fossil fuels, but right now there’s not. Forcing people to use solar or wind or making them put Hopey Changey in their gas tanks only drives up the cost of living.

    And BTW, if you travel a bit, you’ll soon come to realize that the US is one of the cleanest countres on the planet. While the global warming crowd wants to shackle our busineses with even more costly polution control regulations, countries like China and India and the old Soviet Bloc countries have no regulations or restrictions on pollution at all and continue to spew stuff into the air and water unregulated.

    My suggestion is, if you want to advocate for all the clean air regulations and such, go to China and do it.

    • Naked Truth says:
      Maybe in your travels, you may want to stop here for a nice glass of water. Thanks to people like Dick Chaney and Halliburton, they don’t have to disclose the cocktail they use.
      I’m all for alternative fuel, but do it safely. Why poison cattle and people to retrieve it? We need to get off the dependency of foreign oil. But at what cost?
      Hey by the way Sarge, how many fish do you eat out of the Shenandoah? Not a sermon, just a thought.

    • just the facts..PLEASE says:

      Amen Sarge!

      Have you noticed how ALL the environmental articles by the “News Staff” only tell the one side of the story? This “article” is so slanted it looks like it could be a Sierra Club press release. The agenda here is certainly not well hidden…..Hey CDN….How about a little more journalism and a lot less biased opinion.

      CDN Editor: CDN attempts to provide balanced views to the best of its ability given its extremely talented, but severely overworked, news staff. On issues related to the energy needs of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, CDN has published many news stories featuring REC, ODEC and others. Wish that we had the resources to do more original statewide investigative reporting but for now “that’s the way it is”.

    • Clean air and water is overrated anyway. Who needs it? We’ll hold to our cheap 19th century energy source. Everyone have their asthma inhalers?

      (That’s sarcasm for the humor-challenged) I also love the “if you don’t want to live the way I want, go somewhere else attitude. There seems to be alot of that around here.

    • Been Here A Long Time says:

      Wind dies sun sets, coal is abundant until green engery is affordable & plentiful.

  2. “But at what cost?”

    Well, therein lies the question. Have you seen some of the articles on here with peope (myself included)railing against the cost increase from REC? What do you think things will be like if electricity production becomes limited? People think they pay a lot now, wait until the tree huggers at the Obama EPA shut down all those older electric plants, obstensively for the good of “global warming”.

    Like I said, I’m all for alternative fuel as well. It’s high time we tell the arabs where to shove it. But we must develope those fuels and make them cost effective FIRST. You can’t just go and raise gas prices like Obama said he wanted to do in order to force people to use an alternative form of power that costs out the whazoo.

    If alternative fuel was the answer right now, everyone would have solar panels on their houses and be buying Volts, which get their electricity from good ol fashioned coal by BTW

  3. Why do I get the impression that Sarge wants to express his anti-Obama sentiment at every turn?

    • just the facts..PLEASE says:

      Maybe it is because he once took an oath to defend the Constitution………

  4. Three years later, and even the unions are catching on

    President Obama’s cap-and-trade bill died in the Democrat-run 111th Congress, but that hasn’t stopped the chief executive and Lisa Jackson, his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator, from finding regulatory paths to achieve the same goals.

    Topping those goals is the abolition of coal as an electrical power-generating fuel. More than half of the electrical power used every day by Americans is generated by power plants fueled by coal. And 90 percent of all the coal consumed in the U.S. goes to electrical power generation.

    And to replace regular jobs, Obama has been pushing “green jobs”. Unfortunately, they end up costing 2 MILLION taxpayer dollars to create

    President Barack Obama toured a vehicle battery plant in Michigan on Thursday. During his visit Obama touted his administration’s focus on green technology and jobs. Thanks to the Obama-Pelosi failed stimulus bill this same corporation has created “green” jobs at a cost of about $2 million in federal subsidies per job.

    • The U.S. coal industry enjoyed subsidies of around $17 billion between 2002 and 2008, including tax credits- that too is taxpayer money. Ask Eastern Kentucky how they like the poisons in their water supply before defending coal too hard.

  5. Coal burning power plants emit sullfur dioxide which contributes to acid rain. According to the National Academy of Science, fishless lakes in the Adirondacks of New York state are downwind from coal burning power plants. Acid rain is an international problem as coal burning power plants in the US are responsible for acid rain in Canada. Coal burning power plants in Great Britain result in fishless lakes in Scandinavia.