On May 11, 2022, the Sierra Club was among the parties who entered into a settlement agreement with Dominion Energy on their Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, specifically its Economic Development Plan, which will secure much-needed improvements on diversity, equity, and inclusive hiring practices. The Sierra Club submitted expert testimony from Dr. Mark Little in Dominion Energys request to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval and certification of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project in March 2022.
The CVOW project, which involves 176 wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach - provides a massive amount of renewable energy that allows Virginia to do its part in confronting the climate crisis. Sierra Club supports Dominions application before the SCC. But equally important, this project can also provide tremendous job and wealth-building opportunities statewide. Dominion has now ensured that the clean energy from CVOW is supplied in a way that is equitable and beneficial to all Virginians.
Dominions diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments:
Dominion will update the Economic Development Plan semi-annually to include reporting on racial and ethnic demographics, veteran status, and geographic location of Dominion employees as well as contractors and suppliers.
Dominion commits to increasing its diverse workforce representation by 1% point each year with a goal of reaching at least 40% diverse workforce representation by end of 2026.
Create an advisory group to meet semi-annually to review and consider Dr. Little's testimony and recommendations related to supplier diversity and access to capital strategies.
Hold and participate in at least 10 clean energy career events, no fewer than 5 of which will be held in collaboration with minority serving institutions.
Hold and participate in at least 10 business opportunity expositions with at least 5 in collaboration with diverse or small business/trade organizations.
In response, Eileen Woll, Offshore Energy Program Director with the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter released the following statement:
The goal of our diversity, equity, and inclusion achievements in this agreement were to ensure that the communities that have borne the brunt of environmental injustice are specifically included in the benefits of this project and future clean energy projects. Climate change threatens our coastal communities, and disproportionately affects people of color and low-income communities. Dominions commitment to DEI starts to move the needle on support for communities long impacted while also setting precedent for the equitable development of the country's nascent offshore wind industry going forward."