Facilities and Projects
Renewable Energy at Dominion
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 has been investing in technology to bring that cost down so more of these resources can be utilized.
Current Onshore Wind Assets
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, 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.
New Wind Projects for VA and NC Customers
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 a previously filed IRP, Dominion announced plans for three wind projects to serve our customers. While exact locations have not been identified, you can view a map from the Department of Energy that indicates how western Virginia has the strongest possibilities for hosting such an on-shore facility within Virginia.
Offshore Wind Initiatives
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.
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.
A date for when large-scale offshore generation might begin cannot be provided at this time, as many questions remain to be answered, including cost to customers. However, we expect offshore generation could be a reality within the next 10-15 years.
Interim Research Projects
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.
Benefits of Diversified Generation
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.