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Dominion Energy proposes nine solar facilities

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Energy Global,

Dominion Energy Virginia proposed its largest slate yet of new solar projects as the company moves forward to provide customers with more clean energy. The nine solar facilities would bring nearly 500 MW of new renewable energy to customers, enough to power around 125 000 homes at peak output. The proposal comes just months after enactment of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) and builds on what is already the third-largest solar portfolio among utility holding companies in the US.

“This filing is another concrete step toward our commitment to bring more renewable energy to Virginia and build a clean, sustainable future for our customers and our Commonwealth,” said Ed Baine, President - Dominion Energy Virginia. “We are focused on adding significant renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, over the next 15 years while maintaining our commitment to excellent reliability and delivering an excellent value to our customers.”

Six of the nine new solar projects totalling 416 of the 498 MW of energy at peak output are power purchase agreements selected following a competitive solicitation process. This collaborative approach with solar developers contributes to building a clean energy economy in the Commonwealth and helps fulfil the VCEA requirement to have approximately a third of new solar and onshore wind through 2035 be procured through power purchase agreements.

The three utility-owned solar projects are expected to provide over US$100 million in direct and indirect economic benefits in Virginia and will support approximately 750 jobs:

  • Grassfield Solar in the City of Chesapeake was acquired from Solar Access Development Group, LLC and Blue Green Energy, LLC and would provide 20 MW at peak output.
  • Norge Solar in James City County was acquired from Clearway Energy Group and would provide 20 MW at peak output.
  • Sycamore Solar in Pittsylvania County was acquired from a joint venture between Open Road Renewables, LLC and MAP® Energy, LLC and would provide 42 MW at peak output.

Each of the facilities is under development and subject to approval by the State Corporation Commission before construction begins.

The solar projects proposed, if approved, will add less than US$0.20 to the typical residential customer's bill and will be offset in part by fuel savings. These resources will aid Dominion Energy in meeting its obligations under the VCEA's mandatory renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which generally requires that 100% of its electricity sales in the Commonwealth be sourced from clean energy sources by 2045.

The filing includes Dominion Energy's RPS Development Plan detailing a strategy for RPS compliance through 2035 and achievement of certain VCEA targets for solar/onshore wind and energy storage development in the same timeframe. The filing also provides projections of long-term cost, together with ways expenses can be reduced, including savings in fuel as traditional energy generation is displaced by renewable energy.

Dominion Energy's rates are well below the national and east coast averages. In its ongoing 2020 integrated resource plan (IRP), Dominion Energy Virginia has projected that over the next decade, the typical residential customer's monthly bill will increase by about 3% on a compound annual basis, using year-end 2019 as the starting point. The company stands by this assessment; of that amount, approximately half is attributable to RPS-related projects and initiatives. The premise of the 2020 RPS Development Plan's projection differs in that it represents the incremental bill impact of projects related to the RPS Program rather than total customer bills.

On 9 October, Dominion Energy Virginia issued a new RFP soliciting bids for small scale solar projects up to 3 MW in size. Another RFP for large-scale solar, onshore wind and energy storage projects is currently underway and a request for information (RFI) to purchase or lease land suitable for large-scale solar development was released in August. These initiatives will help inform the Company's future renewable energy filings and help meet renewable energy goals.

Solar generation is a vital part of Dominion Energy's comprehensive clean energy strategy to meet standards outlined in the VCEA and to achieve the companywide commitment to net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions by 2050. The company recently completed construction of the first offshore wind turbines in federal waters and is making progress on development of the largest offshore wind project in the Americas. This expansion of renewable energy development will give Virginians significant access to more renewable energy and create thousands of clean energy jobs.



For more news and technical articles from the global renewable industry read our latest issue of Energy Global magazine.

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