Virginia regulators OK Dominion’s deliberate offshore wind farm

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — State regulators on Friday authorized an software from Dominion Energy Virginia to construct a huge offshore wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach and recuperate the fee from ratepayers.

No events to the monthslong continuing had hostile the approval of the undertaking, which is able to lend a hand the software spice up the percentage of its era that comes from renewable sources. But many had raised considerations about affordability and imaginable dangers to the software’s captive ratepayers.

In its Friday order, the State Corporation Commission famous that the 176-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project shall be the one biggest undertaking in Dominion’s historical past and mentioned that as a result of its measurement, complexity and site, it faces an array of demanding situations. The fee incorporated in its order 3 “shopper protections,” together with a efficiency usual.

The fee’s order additionally authorized amenities that can attach the wind farm to the present transmission gadget.

Robert Blue, Dominion Energy’s president and CEO, mentioned in a remark that the corporate was once happy with the approval however was once reviewing the specifics of the order, “specifically the efficiency requirement.”

The undertaking, which will probably be positioned about 27 miles off the coast, has an anticipated capital value of $9.8 billion and has drawn huge improve from native officers, policymakers, trade teams and industry unions, who say it is going to lend a hand battle local weather alternate and create jobs. Backers briefly celebrated the fee’s choice.

“We applaud the SCC for greenlighting new offshore wind energy in Virginia. As the biggest offshore wind undertaking within the nation, this undertaking is a vital piece of our blank power transition as it enhances sun by means of producing energy at evening when the solar isn’t shining,” Will Cleveland, a senior legal professional for the Southern Environmental Law Center, mentioned in a remark.

Regarding prices, the SCC order mentioned that over the wind farm’s projected 35-year lifetime, together with the development and its 30-year projected helpful lifestyles, an ordinary residential buyer is predicted to peer a mean per thirty days invoice build up of $4.72, with a top per thirty days invoice build up of $14.22 in 2027.

“To be transparent, overall Project prices, together with financing prices, much less funding tax credit, are estimated to be roughly $21.5 billion on a Virginia-jurisdictional foundation, assuming such prices are affordable and prudent. And all of those prices … will to find their approach into ratepayers electrical expenses in some method,” the order mentioned.

Dominion mentioned in a information unlock that as a result of offshore wind generators haven’t any gasoline prices, the undertaking is predicted to save lots of Virginia shoppers greater than $3 billion right through its first 10 years of operation.

The shopper protections within the fee’s order come with a demand that Dominion document a realize inside 30 calendar days if it reveals that the whole undertaking prices are anticipated to exceed the present estimate or if the general turbine set up is predicted to be behind schedule past Feb. 4, 2027. Annual filings may also have to handle “any subject material adjustments” to the undertaking and give an explanation for any value overruns.

The SCC additionally ordered that starting with the economic operation and lengthening throughout the lifetime of the undertaking, shoppers will probably be “held innocuous” for any shortfall in power manufacturing underneath a definite threshold.

Such a efficiency usual will offer protection to shoppers who’re paying for the undertaking “from additionally having to pay for alternative power if the Project does now not generate the volume of electrical energy upon which Dominion bases its request and its value estimates,” the order mentioned.

The order is going directly to warn that the efficiency usual, on the other hand, won’t offer protection to shoppers from value overruns, or if the undertaking is deserted.

Commissioner Judith Jagdmann emphasised in a concurring opinion that the undertaking was once “legislatively liked.”

The 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act, a sweeping overhaul of the state’s power coverage enacted by means of Democrats, incorporated quite a lot of renewable power mandates meant to lend a hand deal with the threats of local weather alternate and lead the way for the undertaking.

The General Assembly, Jagdmann wrote, may believe imposing further shopper protections.

Friday’s choice got here after months of voluminous filings within the case and a multiday evidentiary listening to in May.

The corporate already has a two-turbine pilot undertaking up and working. The 2.6-gigawatt, utility-scale undertaking’s time table requires building to be entire in 2026. Dominion expects the undertaking to generate sufficient blank power to energy as much as 660,000 properties.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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