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Dominion Energy Virginia seeks 24 GW of renewables and storage in long-term IRP

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On May 1, Dominion Energy Virginia announced that it has quadrupled the amount of solar and wind generation in its 15-year, long-term integrated resource plan (IRP). The increase is driven by Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order on climate change and the Virginia Economy Act.

Dominion Energy issued a request for proposals, soliciting bids for up to 1,000 MW of solar and onshore wind generation, and up to 250 MW of energy storage in the state. This is the largest solicitation in the company’s history for renewable energy in a calendar year.

Projected expansion amounts to approximately 24,000 new MW of renewable energy and storage capacity over the next 15 years.

The long-term IRP includes:

  • More than 5,000 MW of planned offshore wind by 2035, including the 2,600 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project that has already been announced.
  • Dominion’s solar fleet is projected to grow due to the IRP, which calls for the development and procurement of 16,000 MW in the state over the next 15 years.
  • Energy storage capacity is projected to expand to 2,700 MW, including battery storage pilots already approved and scheduled to be online in Virginia next year.

Renewable and energy storage capacity in 15-year integrated resource plans

  Current  InOperation or Under Construction Prior Forecast 2019 IRP Update (approximate) Updated Forecast 2020 IRP (approximate)
Offshore Wind 12 MW 860 MW 5,100 MW
Solar 396 MW 4,400 MW 15,900 MW
Energy Storage 1808 MW 326 MW 2,700 MW
Total 2,216 MW 5,586 MW 23,700 MW

The IRP plans assume the relicensure of the company’s four nuclear units to continue producing 24/7 zero-carbon emissions electricity.

Based on limitations, such as battery storage technology and the variable nature of renewables, natural-gas fired generation will continue to play a critical, low emission role in the system. Also, a significant increase in energy efficiency programs, to meet the 5% energy sales reduction target by 2025, has been recorded.

The company is also making upgrades to the transmission infrastructure in Virginia and is embarking on strategic investments on the distribution system through its Grid Transformation Plan.

Currently, Dominion Energy’s residential rates are 11.62 cents per kWh, nearly 10% below the national average of 12.85 cents, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The rate is also the lowest of all states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, said Dominion Energy.

The company is projecting that residential rates will keep pace with historic levels of annual inflation, with a compound annual growth rate of around 3% over the next 10 years.

Furthermore, the company announces its new goal of achieving net zero emissions across 20 states by 2050. This IRP and RFP align with Dominion Energy’s commitment.

“We’re focused on the health and safety of our employees and customers during this coronavirus pandemic and see these projects as a catalyst to restarting the economy when appropriate,” said Robert M. Blue, president, Dominion Energy Virginia.