Dominion releases future plan details for energy storage, renewable energy

Virginia

FILE – In this July 1, 2019 file photo people gather around posters of wind turbines before Dominion Energy’s groundbreaking ceremony for their offshore wind turbine project at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, Va. Dominion Energy announced plans Thursday, Sept. 19 to seek approval to build what it says would be the largest offshore wind project in the United States off the Virginia coast. (Sarah Holm/The Virginian-Pilot via AP, File)

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Dominion Energy’s long-term forecast released Friday anticipates great leaps in renewable energy in Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act April 12, which commits to providing 100% carbon-free electricity by removing harmful carbon emissions and obtaining clean energy from renewable sources such as solar or wind generation.

According to Dominion, the deadline for zero net emissions is 2045.

“We’re focused on the health and safety of our employees and customers during this coronavirus pandemic and see these projects as a catalyst to restarting the economy when appropriate,” said Robert M. Blue, president, Dominion Energy Virginia. “We are putting Virginians to work on renewable energy projects that will create thousands of jobs, transforming the environment and the economy of the Commonwealth.”

Dominion’s long-term Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) includes a 300% increase in projected solar and wind generation development over last year’s IRP, as well as a 700% increase in energy storage.

As well as filing the IRP Friday, Dominion also put out a request for proposals for bids on building up to 1,000 megawatts of solar and offshore wind generation and up to 250 megawatts of energy storage in the state.

Dominion aims to have more than 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind generation by 2035, which would include the 2,600-megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project currently in the works.

Dominion also says expanding its renewable energy sources will provide jobs for Virginians and generate “substantial economic benefits for the commonwealth.”

“Projected expansion of offshore wind, solar, and energy storagedevelopment amounts to approximately 24,000 new megawatts of renewable energy and storage capacity over the next 15 years,” Dominion wrote in a news release.

The company plans to continue to use natural-gas fired energy generation.

The Sierra Club Virginia Chapter said Dominion’s preferred plan under the IRP to keep existing gas plants in operation indefinitely is based on the “assumption that they can be made carbon-neutral or that their emissions can be offset by negative emissions elsewhere.”

The Sierra Club said the IRP’s four plans each call for “increased reliance on short-term fracked gas infrastructure.”

Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Kate Addleson released a statement following Dominion’s release of the IRP Friday:

“Communities across the Commonwealth are demanding a shift from expensive fossil fuels to affordable clean energy to create jobs and stop polluting our air, water, and climate. Continued reliance on fracked gas to meet electric demand is extremely uneconomical and comes at a real cost to ratepayers and our ability to advance climate solutions. Dirty fossil fuels have no place in Virginia’s clean energy future, especially given that clean, renewable energy resources are incredibly affordable and abundant.”

– Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Kate Addleson

Despite an increase in renewable energy initiatives, Dominion said its rate of 11.62 per kilowatt-hour is nearly 10 percent below the national average rate of 12.85. The company believes its residential rates will stay on-pace with “historic levels of annual inflation,” meaning a compound annual growth rate of about 3 percent over the next decade.

Customers and developers can learn more about Dominion Energy’s renewable energy expansion plans via email: 2020SolarWindRFP@dominionenergy.com


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