Tommy Wright: Green energy burns green money

Published 12:00 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

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Tommy Wright

Under Governor Youngkin, Virginia is moving to end its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

That program, authorized but not mandated in the Code of Virginia, is a carbon cap and trade system that ostensibly will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When Virginia was first considering joining RGGI, opponents warned that the program would have unintended consequences.

Not only would the reduction in global warming be negligible at best, it would also lead to the “export” of electric generation outside of Virginia to neighboring non-RGGI states.

Now that prediction has come true.

Two full years into RGGI implementation, Virginia’s electricity-related carbon emissions have increased by 3.7 million tons. The math is simple: it now costs less for providers to generate or purchase electricity from out of state, outside RGGI territory. Electric “imports” to the state have grown by 280 percent, or up to 39 million MWH in 2022.

Supporters argue carbon emissions have fallen for electrical generation in Virginia. That is correct. Generation has simply moved out of the Commonwealth. Shouldn’t a major policy like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which promised to cut greenhouse emissions, be required to do what it says it would do?

Native power production from fossil fuels is down 15 percent, while power consumption from fossil fuels is up. The entire premise of RGGI was to reduce carbon emissions. It has failed.

It’s time to remove Virginia from this boondoggle and stop charging ratepayers for simple virtue signaling. We heard all session from constituents that Virginia is not California, and Virginia should not be following California. I have always been proud to be from Virginia, and call Virginia home.

If Democrats got their way, they would continue to make Virginia unrecognizable. I am running to keep Virginia the state all other states look to for leadership. I am running for keep Virginia our home. A vote for Republicans is a vote to keep your lights on.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at or (804) 698-1061.