The Virginia State Corporation Commission has given Dominion Energy the green light on a planned 1,000 MW renewable energy expansion, including what will become Dominion Energy Virginia’s largest solar-plus-storage project to date.
The approval represents the second expansion requested by Dominion Energy since the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act mandated full decarbonization of Dominion's generation fleet by 2045.
Dominion Energy is nearly halfway to targets established by the 2020 law, but must still build out nearly 10,000 MW of new wind and solar capacity to comply.
Two years after Virginia mandated full decarbonization for Dominion Energy by 2045, the state’s largest electric utility is setting a new pace for renewable energy deployment.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission on Tuesday approved Dominion’s plans for an additional 1,000 MW of renewable energy, including 11 new utility-scale solar projects, two distributed solar installations, one energy storage project and a solar-plus-storage project that will represent the company’s largest battery storage development to date, according to company spokesman Aaron Ruby.
The Dulles Solar and Storage project will pair 100 MW of solar generation with 50 MW of storage and will be built at the Dulles International Airport. In lieu of paying for a traditional lease of the airport grounds, Ruby said, Dominion will provide the airport with benefits such as solar carport covers, EV chargers, and electric vehicles to shuttle passengers.
But while Virginia environmental groups praised Dominion Energy’s progress, they indicated there is still work to be done.
"This is exactly what the legislature envisioned when it passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which is a key driver for getting the state to 100% clean renewable energy by 2045,” Elly Boehmer, state director for Environment Virginia, said in an email. “Dominion can and should be part of the solution and this is a start. But in addition to this project, we urge Dominion to fully embrace solar at the utility and community level so even more Virginians have access to clean renewable energy."
The 15 total projects, alongside 24 planned power purchase agreements with third-party developers, are expected to come online in 2022 and 2023 and will bring Dominion Energy’s Virginia renewable generating fleet to 7 GW, according to Ruby. The Virginia Clean Economy Act anticipates that Dominion Energy will build out 16.1 GW of wind and solar resources.
Ruby said the company continues to plan additional projects to meet the 16.1 GW target, and he noted the company will need to propose about 1,000 MW of new renewable generation each year from here on out to meet the 2045 target.