- Dominion Energy affirmed to analysts the steps in its broader clean energy transition, including continuing to advance its large offshore wind development, in its third quarter earnings call on Thursday. Thomas Farrell, in his new capacity as executive chairman of the board, said Dominion became "the third largest owner of solar capacity among utility companies in the country."
- On Monday, Dominion announced the addition of 500 MW of solar in Virginia, across nine projects. While the company's 2020 integrated resource plan remains under consideration by Virginia regulators, the utility issued a request for proposals (RFP) in October, soliciting bids for small-scale solar (up to 3 MW) while proceeding with another RFP for large-scale solar, onshore wind and energy storage.
- While solar is expected to dominate Dominion's renewable energy additions through 2035, the company is adding a sizeable amount of offshore wind. Dominion plans to file at the end of the year with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for federal permits for half of its 2.6 GW planned offshore wind development in Virginia. The $8 billion project is the largest offshore wind development in the United States so far.
Prodded by state legislation and customer demand, Dominion is embracing the transition to clean energy. It wants to lead by example with its offshore wind development and continue adding to its renewables portfolio.
The pending RFPs in Virginia are intended to help inform future renewable energy filings with state regulators, according to the utility, along with an August-issued request for information to purchase or lease land for large-scale solar development.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission has also approved Dominion's renewable energy tarriff, enabling customers to pay for 100% renewable energy, after some of the larger customers in the utility's service sought to leave the monopoly utility due to lack of renewable energy options.
In its second quarter earnings presentation, Dominion laid out plans to increase nearly tenfold its renewable energy generation, from 2.9 GW of solar and some hydropower (excluding pumped hydro), to 28.3 GW of solar, wind, storage and hydro by 2035. The solar capacity will be built mostly in Virginia, and within the footprint of the PJM Interconnection, according to Farrell.
Offshore wind projects across the Northeast have been put off schedule due to setbacks with permitting through BOEM, and some have extended their in-service deadlines. However, Dominion says it remains ontrack with what aims to be the largest U.S. offshore wind development to date.
"Recent permitting recommendations for Northeast wind projects are not expected to alter materially our project plans and will be accounted for when we submit our construction and operation plan later this year," Farrell said.
The project's survey, geotechnical work and preparation are going well, according to Bob Blue, the new CEO of Dominion and former co-chief operating officer.
Third quarter operating earnings dropped from $946 million in Q3 2019 to $916 million in Q3 2020. The company expects fourth quarter operating earnings to further drop as the company divested from its gas transmission operations.
On Monday, Dominion announced it closed the sale of its gas transmission and storage assets to Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company (BHE) for approximately $2.7 billion and $5.3 billion of related debt. The company is expected to complete the sale of its interests in Dominion Energy Questar Pipeline to the same Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary early next year.