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Utility Dominion continues push towards Virginia clean energy targets with solar and batteries

By Sean Rai-Roche
Dominion Energy Virginia’s Scott Solar facility in Powhatan County. Image: Dominion Energy.

US utility company Dominion Energy Virginia has proposed 15 new energy projects and 32 third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs), totalling 1GW of power, which Dominion Energy claimed was the largest group of clean energy projects to be submitted to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC).

Owned and operated by Dominion Energy, the projects include 11 utility-scale solar projects, two small-scale distributed solar projects, one solar-plus-storage project and one standalone battery energy storage project.

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Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) policy into law in 2020 that mandates 100% clean energy for the state by 2045 and requires 3.1GW of energy storage to be deployed by utilities by 2035. That is the US’ biggest energy storage target so far from the nine different states so far that have one.

As one of Virginia’s biggest utilities, Dominion’s share of that 2035 target is 2,700MW. The standalone battery storage included in the latest proposal is Dry Bridge, a 20MW / 80MWh project by developer East Point Energy, which the utility acquired through a clean energy Request for Proposals (RFP) held last year. Dry Bridge is expected to come online in 2022 and will be the state’s biggest standalone battery energy storage project to date.

The power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed for the output from 32 solar and energy storage projects operated by third-party providers were also selected through a competitive solicitation process.

“This is the largest expansion of solar and energy storage in Virginia history and a major leap forward in delivering clean energy to our customers,” said Dominion Energy Virginia president, Ed Baine.

Construction of assets is expected to generate more than US$880 million in economic benefits across Virginia and will support nearly 4,200 clean energy jobs, said Dominion Energy in a media release.

The 15 projects includes the 20MW Dry Bridge battery project and the Dulles Solar and Storage project which combines 100MW of solar PV with 50MW of battery storage. Image: Dominion Energy Virginia.

In addition to SCC approval, each of the proposed projects require local and state permits before construction may begin. The distributed solar projects are also expected to be completed in 2022, with the remaining projects planned for completion in 2023.

The projects will aid Dominion Energy Virginia in meeting the goals of the Virginia Clean Economy Act’s (VCEA) renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which requires that 100% of electricity sales in Virginia come from clean energy sources by 2045.

In November last year, Dominion Energy submitted proposals for nine solar projects in Virginia with a combined capacity of nearly 500MW.

“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,” Baine said at the time.

Also last year, reported on how Dominion Energy Virginia had increased its energy storage targets by 700% and its renewables by 300% as part of its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to meet the requirements of the VCEA. Its IRP aims to establish 24GW of new offshore wind, solar energy and energy storage in total over the next 15 years.

This story first appeared on PV Tech.

Additional reporting for by Andy Colthorpe.

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