- Dominion Energy Virginia is seeking up to 1,500 MW of new dispatachable peak capacity beginning in 2022, to replace generation retirements and to provide system balancing needs for the company's growing renewables fleet.
- Environmental groups say the RFP aims to bring new gas-fired generation into the state, which is at odds with state policy targeting 100% carbon-free power by 2050. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, D, in September signed Executive Order 43 setting the state on a course to reach 30% renewables by 2030, along with the 2050 goal.
- Dominion says it is on track to meet the state's clean energy goals, but the need for additional generation was identified in recent Integrated Resource Plans. Proposals for new generation are due to the utility by Dec. 19.
Dominion's RFP is not a surprise: The utility has been signaling a need for new generation, and renewables advocates warned that would mean new gas-fired plants.
Dominion, in a statement, said it is committed to reducing carbon emissions 55% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels and bringing more renewable energy to the grid. And the utility says it will have enough solar and wind energy in operation or development in Virginia by 2022 to power 750,000 homes.
But the utility also points to multiple generating unit retirements this year, and says its 2019 Integrated Resource Plan Update includes scenarios where additional generating units are retired within the next six years.
"These new peaking units will be an essential partner to renewables by filling a need when solar and wind aren’t generating enough due to lack of sunlight and/or low wind speed," Dominion said. "The units will ensure Dominion Energy can produce continuous and reliable energy to meet demand when called upon, particularly when renewable sources are unable to do so."
According to the Sierra Club, Dominion should be looking to renewable energy rather than considering more fossil fuels.
“Dominion's own recent contracts show that sustainable and clean energy sources like wind and solar are less expensive than carbon-emitting fossil fuels like gas, and they should be seeking bids for affordable clean energy and not expensive dirty fossil fuels," Mary-Stuart Torbeck, senior organizer of the Sierra Club's Virginia Chapter, told Utility Dive.
Dominion is seeking bids for up to 1,500 MW of summer Unit Firm Capacity, and specified a preference for approximately 500 MW to come online each year from 2022 through 2024. Proposals must offer a minimum of 50 MW, according to the RFP documents.
Dominion also said it "will show preference for proposals for facilities located in, and delivering power to, the company’s bulk power transmission system" in the PJM Dominion Transmission Zone. The utility will also consider Proposals for facilities in PJM zones adjacent to the Dominion Transmission Zone.
Proposals for facilities not directly interconnected to the PJM transmission system will not be considered.
Submissions must indicate the facility’s site location, and Dominion asked developers to "designate on map(s) any planned infrastructure upgrades such as electric interconnection route and gas pipeline route."