Dominion Vitality says it would doubtless should proceed constructing new fossil gasoline and nuclear energy crops to produce electrical energy to its Virginia clients over the following 15 years, in response to the utility’s newest long-range plan.
The corporate’s priorities haven’t modified to offer dependable, inexpensive and more and more clear vitality to its clients, the utility wrote in its 2023 Built-in Useful resource Plan, a non-binding 15-25 yr roadmap required by state regulation each three years and primarily based on forecasts from regional grid operator PJM Interconnection. Nonetheless, this yr the quantity of projected long-term vitality wanted within the [Dominion] Considerably elevated space.
Dominion says the large will increase in demand are tied to accelerating knowledge heart development and, to a lesser extent, electrification, together with the transition to electrical automobiles. The outcomes are in keeping with 2021 predictions from the College of Virginia Vitality Transition Initiative.
Since 2019, the corporate has related 75 knowledge facilities with an eventual capability of three GW, Dominion wrote within the IRP, which was filed with the State Company Fee on Monday. These knowledge facilities will attain this capability over time, so the Firm expects this development to materialize over the following 3-5 years.
Knowledge Facilities and Electrical Autos Will Improve Electrical energy Demand in Virginia, UVA Forecaster Predicts
Whereas the IRP is seen as a long-term planning doc primarily based on a snapshot of present circumstances, and officers warn that quickly altering vitality markets can imply its projections can rapidly develop into outdated, the plan affords one of many clearest indications of how the utility sees Virginia’s vitality wants and expects to fulfill them.
Within the 2023 IRP, Dominion proposes to fulfill rising demand by way of a number of potential plans which may embody the development of as much as eight small modular nuclear reactors from 2034 and as much as seven new gas-fired energy crops all sustaining two coal-fired energy stations in operation.
As their title suggests, SMRs are smaller variations of nuclear reactors that may be fabricated offsite and in-built areas that might not be possible for big nuclear energy crops. Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has been a robust supporter of the expertise, which continues to be beneath improvement.
Whereas together with compliance with renewable vitality necessities set out within the Virginia Clear Financial system Act, the IRP additionally plans to proceed utilizing sure fossil gasoline services by way of the late 2030s. Underneath the VCEA of 2020 landmark state regulation outlining path to decarbonize electrical grid by mid-century, utility can function carbon-emitting services till 2040, then should apply to State Company Fee to proceed to function them within the occasion of a community reliability drawback. .
Potential new fuel combustion generators can be used to assist meet peak grid calls for, mentioned Dominion, which pointed to strains on the grid brought on by a 2022 Christmas chilly snap that produced the best demand for electrical energy. firm historical past in Virginia. Including seven new crops would greater than double the corporate’s current fuel fleet in Virginia.
Along with the brand new tasks, varied eventualities suggest conserving the coal- and biomass-fired Virginia Metropolis Hybrid Vitality Heart and the coal-fired Clover Energy Plant, which the utility collectively owns with Outdated Dominion Electrical Cooperative, on-line till a minimum of the late 2030s. Earlier IRPs had predicted that Clover would shut in the course of this decade.
All of Dominions’ plans incorporate vital however completely different quantities of photo voltaic, wind, and battery storage applied sciences, together with electrical faculty bus batteries. Dominion is required by the Virginia Clear Financial system Act to generate sure percentages of its electrical energy from these sources in sure years.
All of those approaches enable us to reliably serve our clients across the clock, particularly on the most well liked and coldest days of the yr, mentioned Ed Baine, president of Dominion Vitality Virginia in a press launch. Our plan balances the advantages of renewable vitality with the reliability of on-demand electrical energy so we are able to meet the rising wants of our clients.
Youngkin, who incessantly makes use of the time period all the above to explain his vitality plans, launched a press release on Monday expressing his help for the IRP.
Governor Youngkin desires a small modular reactor. What’s it precisely ?
Way more must be achieved to make sure Virginians have dependable, inexpensive and clear electrical energy, Youngkin mentioned in a press release. This acknowledgment of frequent sense by Dominion is a crucial first step, and we are going to proceed to work with all stakeholders to speed up the deployment of essential infrastructure and new applied sciences equivalent to superior nuclear, hydrogen, carbon seize and battery storage, which maintains the integrity of Virginias. grid and be sure that the state controls its personal generational future.
Home of Delegates Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, expressed comparable sentiments, saying the IRP displays actuality.
Clearly, the necessities of the Virginia Clear Financial system Act are incompatible with dependable, ample and inexpensive vitality, Gilbert mentioned. With out your entire plan above which incorporates extra nuclear and different renewables, deferred retirement of current base load services and development of recent dispatchable services, the one different might be to import as much as 300% of electrical energy along with out of state. from sources that aren’t carbon-free.
However Democratic lawmakers and environmental teams have struck a unique tone, arguing the plan is a diversion from confirmed, cheaper renewable vitality applied sciences equivalent to photo voltaic, wind and battery storage.
From my perspective, what they need to be speaking about is accelerating the following offshore wind challenge or discovering methods to deploy extra photo voltaic in potential areas as a substitute of speaking about fuel spikes, mentioned Senator Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax. CSC might want to decide if investing in a fuel turbine that’s to be retired by 2040 makes monetary sense for taxpayers.
Of the. Rip Sullivan, D-Arlington, the Home boss of the Virginia Clear Financial system Act, known as reliability scare ways and mentioned the IRP notably didn’t embody methods to cut back demand, equivalent to efforts to cut back demand. ‘energetic effectivity. He additionally criticized the plans’ assumption that Virginia will exit the carbon market referred to as the Regional Greenhouse Fuel Initiative and its reliance on small modular reactors.
Everybody acknowledges that we do not know the right way to market SMRs, he mentioned. By no means achieved on this planet.
Southern Environmental Regulation Heart lead lawyer Nate Benforado, an advocate for renewable vitality improvement, mentioned the IRP was the Dominions’ bid to get again into Youngkins’ good graces after two months of debate over utility earnings and the state regulatory system within the 2023 legislative session.
I do not suppose there is a greatest option to go, Benforado mentioned. That is a disgrace.
Benforado mentioned the plan goes in opposition to state regulation requiring decarbonization by calling for brand new investments in fossil fuels.
These are enormous will increase in emissions at a time once we know by regulation [they] have to be void, Benforado mentioned. For me, it goes precisely in the wrong way by drastically decreasing our emissions. »
Kim Jemaine, director of Superior Vitality United, a commerce affiliation that represents producers of renewable vitality applied sciences, expressed skepticism about Dominion’s reliability points.
Reliability is on the forefront of the VCEA. It combines investments in photo voltaic, wind, current nuclear, the vitality effectivity effort and vitality storage, Jemaine mentioned. Dominion largely ignores these sources and as a substitute focuses on pure fuel, regardless of the excessive worth volatility there and superior nuclear which isn’t but commercially viable.