Dominion Energy Virginia received approval from the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to move forward with four battery storage pilot projects to pave the way for additional energy storage technology needed to support the company's aim to achieve net-zero carbon and methane emissions by 2050, increase in renewables, and to improve grid reliability.
The four utility-scale battery storage pilot projects, totaling 16 MW, are the largest projects of their kind in Virginia. The company will use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, like those found in electric vehicles (EVs), to better understand how this emerging technology can be integrated into various applications to benefit customers.
The four Central Virginia-based projects will cost approximately US$33 million to construct and will provide key information on distinct use cases for batteries on the energy grid. The pilots will be evaluated over a five-year period once operational — currently expected to be in the first quarter of 2021.
- Two battery systems totaling 12 MW at the Scott Solar facility in Powhatan County will provide valuable information on the proficiency of battery technology to store energy generated from solar panels during periods of high production and release energy during periods when load is high or solar generation is low. It would also reveal how well a battery can optimize power production of the solar facility.
- A 2-MW battery at a substation in the Town of Ashland, Hanover County, will bolster the existing grid capacity to serve customers during times of high energy demand without the need to engage in wholesale equipment upgrades.
- A 2-MW battery at a substation in New Kent County serving a 20-MW solar facility will demonstrate how batteries can help manage voltage and loading issues caused by reverse energy flow, to maintain stable power delivery to customers.
These projects are enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act of 2018, which allows Dominion Energy to invest in up to 30 MW of battery storage pilot projects.
"Dominion Energy will pilot these 16 MW of battery storage to better understand how best to deploy batteries across our system to integrate renewables and provide grid reliability by filling gaps because of the inherent intermittency of solar and wind power," said Mark D. Mitchell, Dominion Energy's vice president of generation construction. "These pilot projects will also help us learn how to incorporate this emerging technology into our overall strategy to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions."
"Energy storage is emerging as a critical component to meeting our customers' needs and providing continued grid stability," said Joe Woomer, Dominion Energy's vice president of grid and technical solutions. "Experience from these pilot projects will enable storage to complement or serve as an alternative to traditional grid enhancements, needed to maintain reliable service for our customers as we work to integrate renewables and improve grid resiliency."