Renewables

Dominion Virginia lays out Grid Transformation Heavy on Renewables, Efficiency

Dominion Energy Virginia this week unveiled its first targets under a new grid transformation law, aiming to deliver a 12-MW offshore wind project and add another 240 MW of solar energy in the state.

Virginia’s Grid Transformation and Security Act, which became law on July 1, spurs Dominion to pursue new paths on energy efficiency, renewables, smart meters and rate cuts. Overall, the efforts will lead to nearly $2 billion worth of investment, bill credits and rate cuts for the utility’s customers.

“Thanks to the Grid Transformation & Security Act, Dominion Energy plans to develop a system that meets the increasingly complex demands and expectations of our customers,” Ed Baine, Senior Vice President – Power Delivery, said in a statement. “And we are doing it with more renewable energy.”

Dominion has announced it will pursue 3,000 MW of new wind and solar energy either in operation or under development by 2022. The projects will be both company assets and procurements from outside producers, according to the release.

This week Dominion sent Virginia state regulators a proposal to add 240 MW of solar statewide. It will seek stakeholder input before announcing another phase in its solar strategy later this year.

Another renewable effort planned by Dominion is the proposed Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. The 12-MW wind farm 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach would be the first of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, according to the utility. Dominion has yet to file that project with state regulators.

Energy efficiency, smart metering and rate cuts are among the other facets of the Dominion Virginia grid transformation plan. Through the provisions of the new law, Dominion Energy customers will receive a combined  $133 million bill credit this month, another $67 million credit in January, and $125 million annually in rate cuts due to recent federal tax reform.

Additionally, customers who need assistance will benefit from the significant expansion of EnergyShare. The law directs Dominion Energy to commit at least $13 million in shareholder funds each year through 2028 for bill assistance and weatherization services for seniors, veterans, low-income customers and people with disabilities.

Dominion also plans to install approximately 2.1 million smart meters in homes and businesses at a cost of about $450 million. If approved by the SCC, these smart meters in conjunction with a new customer information platform will give customers more information and tools to better manage their energy use and bills.

The new grid law also directs Dominion Energy to propose at least $870 million in energy efficiency programs over the next decade, designed to help customers save energy and manage the demand on Virginia’s electric system. The new law designates that at least five percent of energy efficiency programs must benefit low income, elderly or disabled individuals, most likely through residential weatherization upgrades.

Dominion Energy will file its initial proposals for new energy efficiency projects with the SCC for approval later this year following input provided by stakeholders.

“The GTSA lays out a very clear path for Virginia to reach a clean energy future that includes greater reliability, more security and grid resiliency,” Baine said. “And it does this while ensuring prices remain reasonable and competitive. Virginia will make great strides in the coming years, because of the new law.”

Dominion Energy has coal, gas, solar, wind, nuclear, biomass and hydropower generation plants in Virginia. The utility’s overall generation mix is approximately 34 percent nuclear, 34 percent gas-fired, 26 percent coal-fired and 6 percent renewables, according to the company website.

(Compiled from staff and wire reports. Rod Walton is content editor of Power Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]).