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Dominion Energy announces energy storage pilot projects in Virginia

These four utility-scale battery storage pilot projects have a combined installation capacity of 16MW and are the largest projects of their kind in Virginia. Image: Flickr / Sabreguy29

Dominion Energy Virginia has signed off on four battery storage pilot projects to help open avenues for additional energy storage technology needed to support the company's boost in renewables and to improve grid reliability.

These four utility-scale battery storage pilot projects have a combined installation capacity of 16MW and are the largest projects of their kind in Virginia. The installations were filed with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval Friday and are enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act of 2018, which lets Dominion Energy invest in up to 30MW of battery storage pilot projects.

Mark D. Mitchell, vice president – generation construction, said: "Energy storage is critical to providing continued reliability for our customers as we expand our renewable portfolio. Battery storage has made significant strides in recent years, in both efficiency and cost. These pilot projects will enable Dominion Energy to better understand how best to deploy batteries to help overcome the inherent fluctuation of wind and solar generation sources."

Joe Woomer, vice president – grid & technical solutions, added: "These pilot projects will allow us to analyze the use of energy storage for grid stability support as an alternative to traditional upgrades of grid equipment, such as transformers. Battery storage has the potential to serve a key role in maintaining reliable service for our customers as we work to integrate renewables and improve grid resiliency."

The four proposed Central Virginia-based lithium-ion projects will cost approximately US$33 million to construct and are expected to be operational by December 2020. The pilots would then be evaluated over a five-year period. 

Two battery systems totalling 12MW will be located at the Scott Solar facility in Powhatan County, while a 2MW installation will be built at a substation in Ashland. Another 2MW battery will be installed at a substation in New Kent County, and will serve a nearby 20MW PV project. 

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