The first big wave of solar and wind in Virginia

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It is hard to over-state the significance of Virginia’s Grid Transformation & Security Act of 2018. Among other things, the act which was signed into law in March deemed the deployment of 5 GW of wind and solar to be in the interest of the Commonwealth, and today the state’s largest utility took a big step towards making the first tranche of that a reality.

In line with the recommendations in the state’s 2018 Energy Plan, Dominion Virginia Power has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 500 MW-AC of wind and/or solar projects which will need to come online by the end of 2020.

The plants can either be sold to Dominion, or the power sold under 20-year contracts. The utility will buy all the energy, capacity and environmental projects of winning projects, which must be at least 5 MW-AC in capacity. The RFP will not accept aggregations of smaller projects.

Dominion states that it prefers projects in its service area, but will also take projects in other service areas as long as they are in the state of Virginia.

Dominion says it prefers projects in its service area, which is in yellow in the above map.

Map: State Corporation Commission (Virginia)

Project bids and confidentiality agreements must be submitted by November 2nd, with final proposals for projects by December 13 and power contracts by March 14. Bids will be evaluated on both price and non-price criteria, which will include both economic benefit to the state of Virginia as well as the financial condition and experience of the developer and the risk inherent in the project.

This RFP represents a big move for Virginia, which has been only a mid-sized solar market to date. However these projects along with the 500 MW Pleinmont Solar project which is planned for Spotsylvania County promise to push Virginia into the big leagues.