Virtual Power Plants could replace Natural Gas Fired Electric Power

… but it would come at the risk of “excessive Executive Compensation”

{{ This dynamic can push some companies to extreme lengths in pursuit of gas-generated profits. Nearly a decade ago, Dominion and Duke partnered to build a 600-mile-long pipeline across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, largely to supply their own new power plants. Back then, the companies cited their own forecasts of rising energy demand and claimed more gas supply was needed to back up intermittent wind- and solar-generated power coming onto the grid. But it soon became clear that there wasn’t any need for those plants, and most were canceled. The pipeline’s core premise had proved to be a mirage. And in 2020, faced with relentless grass-roots opposition, Dominion and Duke finally abandoned it.

It makes sense that Dominion and Duke executives would pursue these potentially lucrative investments; their job is to maximize returns for their shareholders. But utilities aren’t like other shareholder-owned companies. They are granted the right to be monopolies in exchange for providing essential services to society. And regulators’ job is to hold them accountable to the public interest. This century-old model is in dire need of an upgrade, so that utilities can be compensated for achieving goals — such as using clean, affordable energy and building a resilient grid — that are in everyone’s interest. }}