- Dominion Energy will supply 420 MW of renewable energy to Virginia government buildings and facilities in a deal announced Friday that aims to help the state meet new clean energy goals.
- Combined with previously announced solar projects, electricity produced by the new wind and solar resources will help meet the equivalent of 45% of the state government's annual energy use. Gov. Ralph Northam, D, in September committed the state to reach 100% carbon-free power by 2050 and 30% renewables by 2030.
- Dominion plans to deliver power from four solar projects the utility will own, and from the 75 MW Rocky Forge Wind facility under development by Apex Clean Energy in Botetourt County. Once complete, it will be the first onshore wind project in Virginia.
Dominion's announcement is a significant step forward for Virginia's renewable goals, but critics warn against giving too much credit to a utility still relying heavily on fossil fuels.
"Today's announcement is like a moment of sunshine on a rainy day," Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Kate Addleson said in a statement.
Addleson called for Dominion to cancel its Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would bring natural gas from West Virginia to power plants in North Carolina, and to support more customer-owned renewables. The $7.5 billion, 600-mile pipeline is currently tied up in court over certain permits, including in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dominion says that by 2030 it has committed to reducing power generating facility carbon emissions 55% from 2005 levels and reducing gas asset methane emissions 50% from 2010 levels. In March, the company announced it would close 10 older and less-efficient gas and coal-fired power units in Virginia.
The deal with Virginia will supply energy from five facilities:
- 75 MW from Rocky Forge Wind, under development by Apex Clean Energy in Botetourt County;
- 88 MW from Belcher Solar, owned by Dominion Energy, in Louisa County;
- 70 MW from Bedford Solar in the city of Chesapeake. The project is under development by Lincoln Clean Energy but will be owned by Dominion's Virginia Electric and Power Co. (VEPCO);
- 90 MW from Walnut Solar in King and Queen County, under development by Open Road Renewables but also to be owned by VEPCO;
- A fourth solar project, yet to be named, will provide the remaining generation.
The base rate of all solar facilities is $34/MWh for the first three contract years, escalating at 2% thereafter, according to the contract, with a 20-year term. The Rocky Forge Wind contract is for $35/MWh for the first five years, rising to $53.58/MWh in the sixth year and then 2.5% thereafter.
Virginia is also working with Dominion on development of the first offshore wind project in federal waters, utilizing a pair of 6 MW turbines. The demonstration project is expected to be complete next year, and the state says it is the first step toward development of 2.6 GW of offshore resources.