Wind Generation

Wind Generation 

The development of renewable energy has been a priority for Dominion in recent years. We have many projects planned as well as some that are already operational. Virginia’s renewable energy is going to continue to become a growing source of our energy in coming years.

Dominion is committed to developing renewable energy in Virginia, while continuing to keep rates reasonable for our customers. At this time, renewables are still more expensive to generate than traditional fuels, which is why Dominion been investing in technology to bring that cost down so more of these resources can be utilized.

Questions and Answers

Does Dominion currently generate any wind power for its customers?

Yes. Dominion currently owns 50% stakes in two wind farms. The one closest to our Dominion Virginia Power customers is the NedPower Mt. Storm Wind Farm located near Mt. Storm in West Virginia. This wind station produces 264 megawatts of electricity, of which Dominion owns half. Power from this station is sold into the wholesale market operated by PJM Interconnection that services our Virginia customers. Dominion customers in the Northern Virginia population center typically consume most of the power generated at this station.

Dominion also operates a wind farm at the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in northwestern Indiana. This wind station produces 301 megawatts of electricity, of which Dominion owns half. The electricity generated here also flows into the PJM Interconnection grid and is consumed primarily in the Midwest. It has provided Dominion with more expertise in the wind industry and helps us plan for added generation in Virginia.

Dominion Wind Generation

Does Dominion plan any new wind projects to serve Virginia and North Carolina customers?

Yes. Dominion files an Integrated Resource Plan in both Virginia and North Carolina that projects changes in how the company will supply customers with power. In the most recent IRP filed, Dominion has announced plans for three wind projects to serve our customers. While the exact locations are not ready to be announced, you can see on the map below from the Department of Energy that western Virginia has the strongest possibilities for hosting such a on-shore facility within Virginia. (Click on the map to enlarge it.)

Click to enlarge.

Is Dominion planning any projects with offshore wind?

The federal government controls offshore wind areas, and the Obama administration is opening up leases for production of offshore wind. In that process, Dominion submitted a proposal to operate the offshore area up for lease off of the Virginia coast.

The administration in late November 2012 announced that all 113,000 acres of federal leases off the Virginia coast would be put up for a single-bid auction in 2013. Dominion Virginia Power subsequently bid $1.6 million on Sept. 4, 2013, to win the lease for 112,800 acres of federal land off the coast of Virginia to develop a commercial offshore wind turbine project capable of generating up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for 500,000 homes. (> learn more).

Dominion also has completed two major studies on Virginia offshore wind transmission into the electric grid. The first completed in 2010 found that Virginia has an advantage compared to many states because it has the capability to interconnect large scale wind generation facilities with the existing grid in Virginia Beach. Another study completed in 2012 found that each 500-700 MW of capacity generated offshore would require one service platform with two underwater power cables to shore.

When will offshore wind be constructed and energy flowing into the grid?

We don’t have a date certain yet with many questions left to be answered, including cost to customers. We expect this could be operational within the next 10 years.

Are any interim research projects planned?

Dominion is involved in the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP), a research and development project supporting offshore wind generation. The VOWTAP team has proposed designing, developing and demonstrating a grid-connected, 12-megawatt offshore wind facility consisting of two Alstom 6-megawatt turbines mounted on innovative foundations.

VOWTAP was among seven projects selected nationally by the U.S. Department of Energy in December 2012 for a $4 million award supporting initial engineering, design, and permitting for a proposed offshore wind (OSW) demonstration facility approximately 24 nautical miles (27 statute miles) off the coast of Virginia. (This project is unrelated to the auction process referenced above.)

The VOWTAP team includes the expertise of several partners, including ALSTOM, a wind turbine manufacturer; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center; KBR, acting as the Owner’s Engineer; The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), and Virginia Tech.

Besides clean energy, what benefits does Dominion see from wind projects?

Dominion is fuel-neutral and does not profit based on what fuels are used to supply our customers. However, Dominion supports increasing the use of wind and other renewable technologies in order to continue to diversify our power supply system. A diversified system will ensure reasonable and stable rates for our consumers, which is one of our top priorities.

How can Dominion customers be supportive of these projects?

Join the Dominion Green Power Program. This program will allow you to purchase the green energy we are producing, and the money from this program goes into producing more. This program also helps demonstrate to state regulators the support from customers to move in this direction.

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