The government of Virginia has signed a deal with local utility Dominion Energy for 345MW of solar and 75MW of onshore wind energy to power government buildings and facilities.
The Virginia-headquartered utility is billing the deal, which comprises five plants across the state, as the "largest renewable procurement by a state for its own clean energy needs."
The purchase comes one month after state governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia’s government agencies and executive branches would front a state-wide renewable push, procuring 30% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2022.
The solar spree consists of four proposed solar projects set to come online over the next three years, pending local approvals.
This includes the 88MWp Belcher Solar project, owned by Dominion Energy and being developed by Virginia Solar LLC and MAP Energy LLC. The Bedford Solar project in the City of Chesapeake will provide 70MWp and is being developed by Lincoln Clean Energy. Open Road Renewables’ Walnut Solar project will provide “at least” 90MWp. An undisclosed project will account for the rest of the generation.
The wind energy will come from the Rocky Forge Wind project, Virginia's first onshore wind operation.
Renewables will account for 45% of the government’s annual energy, use once the batch comes online, according to Dominion Energy.
The new power will also help the utility meet come closer to its clean energy objectives. The firm wants to have 3GW of solar and wind resources under development by 2022, and with the new projects, Dominion Energy will be two-fifths of the way there.
Governor Needham, a Democrat in a state with a Republican-controlled legislature, issued an executive order in September that sets a target for 30% of Virginia’s electricity to be powered by renewable energy sources by 2030 and for the state to be fully powered by carbon-free sources by 2050.
Virginia ranks 18th in the United States for solar capacity, but its market is forecast to grow the seventh fastest, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Only 1.07% of the state’s electricity comes from solar, but prices have dropped 35% in the last five years.
Dominion Energy provides power distribution and transmission services in Virginia and North Carolina whilst also being one of the largest natural gas transmission and storage companies in the US.
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