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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Report: Dominion Energy Plan Falls Short on Renewables

A 2021 report found Virginia has the potential to create more than 220,000 terawatts of offshore wind energy by 2050. (Adobe Stock)

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A new report found Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan does not align with Virginia’s climate goals.

Dominion wants to keep using gas and coal-fired power plants, citing data center expansion in Northern Virginia but the Virginia Clean Economy Act mandated Dominion to use 100% renewable electricity by 2045.

Dominion’s plan does meet Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s energy plan, which relies on both fossil fuels and renewables.

Dennis Wamsted, energy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, is ambivalent about the company using hydrogen for its gas plants. He said there are too many unanswered questions.

“They don’t have any cost figures that are credible,” Wamsted contended. “They don’t have any estimate of who would be providing this hydrogen fuel, how it would be getting to the new facility that they want to build, and what all this would cost for ratepayers.”

For now, the future of the plan is in the hands of the State Corporation Commission. In the meantime, Dominion is pushing forward with its Coastal Virginia offshore wind farm. It is expected to generate more than 2.5 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 660,000 homes.

Wamsted noted Dominion’s plan is not entirely unexpected. He feels utility companies would rather invest in bigger projects they can make money on than projects specifically benefiting ratepayers. He argued the plan to build a new gas plant is not good news for ratepayers.

“You’d be paying for it way past 2045, even if the utility couldn’t use it,” Wamsted pointed out. “You would be getting, you know, essentially, a double whammy of paying for something that’s not being used and then having to figure out what else you could be building to meet the demand in the future.”

He’s referring to the Chesterfield Energy Reliability Center, a Dominion gas-powered plant to be built starting in 2025, to open in 2027. With the Virginia Clean Economy Act in place, the plant would have to close long before the typical life span of a gas power plant.

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