Dominion Energy Virginia announced four battery storage pilot projects to help pave the way for additional energy storage technology needed to support the company's increase in renewables and to improve grid reliability.
The four utility-scale battery storage pilot projects totaling 16 megawatts are the largest projects of their kind in Virginia. The projects were filed with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval Friday and are enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act of 2018, which allows Dominion Energy to invest in up to 30 megawatts of battery storage pilot projects. As Dominion Energy continues to increase its solar fleet – currently the 4th largest of any utility holding company in the nation – the company is looking for new and innovative ways to store the renewable energy it produces and maintain reliable service to customers.
"Energy storage is critical to providing continued reliability for our customers as we expand our renewable portfolio," said Mark D. Mitchell, vice president – generation construction. "Battery storage has made significant strides in recent years, in both efficiency and cost. These pilot projects will enable Dominion Energy to better understand how best to deploy batteries to help overcome the inherent fluctuation of wind and solar generation sources."
"These pilot projects will allow us to analyze the use of energy storage for grid stability support as an alternative to traditional upgrades of grid equipment, such as transformers," noted Joe Woomer, vice president – grid & technical solutions. "Battery storage has the potential to serve a key role in maintaining reliable service for our customers as we work to integrate renewables and improve grid resiliency."
The four proposed Central Virginia-based lithium-ion projects will cost about $33 million to construct and will provide key information on distinct use cases for batteries on the energy grid. Pending SCC approval, the pilots would be evaluated over a five year period once operational as currently expected in December 2020.
- Two battery systems totaling 12 MW at the Scott Solar facility in Powhatan County will demonstrate how batteries can store energy generated from solar panels during periods of high production and release energy during periods when the load is high or solar generation is low. It would also help optimize the power produced by the solar facility.
- A 2-MW battery at a substation in Ashland will explore how batteries can improve reliability and save money on equipment replacement by serving as an alternative to traditional grid management investments such as transformer upgrades, necessary to serve customers during times of high energy demand.
- A 2-MW battery at a substation in New Kent County serving a 20-MW solar facility will show how batteries can help manage voltage and loading issues caused by reverse energy flow, to maintain grid stability.
Separately, the company issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking bids for up to 500 MW of solar and onshore wind generation in the state. Bidders seeking more information on the competitive bidding process and the RFP submittal documents should visit www.dominionenergy.com/2019solarwindrfp.