RWE signs PPA with Dominion Energy for US solar portfolio of 266MW

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RWE Clean Energy’s Watlington solar project in the US state of Virginia has a capacity of 20MW. Credit: RWE

German energy company RWE has signed a series of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with US-based Dominion Energy, to sell power from a portfolio of solar projects with a total capacity of 266MW.

The portfolio consists of seven solar projects in the US state of Virginia, two of which, the Pleasant Hill and Watlington projects, came online this year, and boast a combined capacity of 40MW. RWE expects its Wythe County project to begin operations next year, and add another 75MW to the portfolio’s capacity, with the remaining four projects under development and without an expected completion date.

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RWE Clean Energy, a subsidiary of RWE, will serve as the owner of all seven projects, and manage their day-to-day operations, although the company has not yet announced the financial details of the Dominion Energy deal.

“We’re invigorated by our ability to help Dominion move forward with a slate of projects in its home state of Virginia that reduces its carbon footprint and helps get the industry closer to achieving net-zero,” said Mark Noyes, CEO of RWE Clean Energy.

“As a company, we are well-positioned to leverage our vast experience to deliver the highest quality solar energy projects, optimising costs, while providing tailor-made solutions to our customers.”

The deal will reinforce RWE’s stake in the Virginian solar sector, which has grown considerably in recent years. RWE Clean Energy’s Water Strider plant, an 80MW project in Halifax County, came online in the second quarter of 2021, and alongside the seven new projects, the company now boasts 346MW of solar capacity in the state in operating and pipeline projects.

The company also signed a PPA with Dominion for power from the Water Strider plant, and the latest news will further strengthen the ties between the companies.

The deal will be good news for the Virginian solar sector, with Virginia heavily reliant on coal and nuclear power to meet its energy demands. According to the US Energy Information Administration in 2021, the state’s nuclear plants generated coal-fired po 298.5 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of heat, as coal-fired power plants produced 283.6 trillion Btu, compared to just 46 trillion Btu of all non-combustible renewables.

The signing of the PPAs is the latest encouraging development for Virginian solar in particular and US solar as a whole. In March, Nextracker signed an agreement with Strata Clean Energy to provide solar trackers for 810MW of projects in the states of Arizona, Texas and Virginia, while the US Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that growing demand for US solar modules will triple the number of manufacturing jobs in US solar over the next decade.

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