Dominion Energy Virginia has released its largest single-year solicitation for renewable energy projects, calling for bids of up to 1,000 MW of solar and onshore wind generation and up to 250 MW of energy storage.
The solicitation comes as a part of the company’s new, equally ambitious, Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), one which looks to deploy 24 GW of new offshore wind, solar and energy storage over the course of the next 15 years. Of those 24 GW, 16 GW are set to come from solar projects, while 2.7 GW have been reserved for energy storage capacity expansion. The expected deployment of 16 GW in the next 15 years is a lofty goal for a utility operating in a state that has installed 893 MW of solar to date, according to SEIA.
The IRP’s remaining capacity will be put towards developing what the utility touts as the largest offshore wind deployment in North America. The document also outlines a clear preference towards four-hour duration lithium-ion battery energy storage, but also includes that the utility will consider additional alternative storage bids.
Solar, wind and storage are, notably, the only generation resources listed for expansion under the new IRP, with the full capacity of each targeted to be in service by 2035. While Dominion shares that the IRP assumes that each of the company’s four nuclear units will be relicensed and that natural-gas fired generation will play a critical role in the company’s energy system for “decades to come,” the plan showcases no expansion of these resources. Furthermore, gas is justified as being a, invariable resource required due to current storage limitations.
If this language sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to the language used by Duke Energy to justify increasing its natural gas capacity nearly 50% by 2030. The main difference is while Duke is using storage’s current limitations to justify natural gas expansion and investment in zero-emitting load-following resources that are not yet widely commercially available/don’t exist, Dominion is pursuing storage as a reliable technology, even with its limitations.
It also helps that the recently-signed Virginia Clean Economy Act requires Virginia’s largest energy companies to construct or acquire more than 3,100 MW of energy storage capacity.
In the short term
As for the 1,000 MW of solar and onshore wind and the 250 MW of energy storage included in Dominion’s most recent request for proposals, any interested developer has until May 18 to submit Notices of Intent to Bid and Confidentiality Agreements, with final asset purchase and power purchase proposals due September 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021, respectively.
All projects must be at least 5 MWac in size, located in Virginia and commercially operational by the end of 2023 to be considered. Storage bids can come as facilities connected to proposed solar/wind projects, or as stand-alone facilities.