Dominion (NYSE:D) said during a Nov. 2 quarterly earnings call that its latest combined-cycle natural gas power plant remains on pace for commercial operation in 2016.
“We continue to execute with strong operational and safety performance and all major projects in our infrastructure growth plan are on time and on budget,” said Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II.
Dominion construction on Brunswick County, the 1,358-MW natural gas combined-cycle facility is about 89% complete and scheduled to begin commercial operation in the middle of 2016, Farrell said. There are about 1,050 workers on site at the Brunswick project, the CEO said.
As for the roughly 1,600-MW Greensville County natural gas project, Dominion utility Virginia Electric Power has made its filing for a certificate and rate rider for the $1.3bn power generation project with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. A hearing is scheduled before the SCC in January 2016.
Provided that regulatory approvals are secured on schedule, Dominion anticipates starting commercial operation at Greensville in December 2018.
Dominion is getting active on solar development. Dominion is investing $700m being invested this decade on utility-scale solar projects in its regulated Virginia territory.
Dominion recently suffered a setback before the SCC, when the commission declined to approve the 20-MW solar project in Northern Virginia, saying the company must first explore third-party alternatives via a solar request for proposals (RFP).
“The projects are going to be required to meet the Clean Power Plan” and the Virginia General Assembly has deemed them “in the public interest,” Farrell said, adding “we are going to work our way through this.”
Dominion has also invested more than $600m in electric transmission infrastructure so far during 2015.
As for existing generation, Farrell said that Dominion’s nuclear fleet posted a capacity factor of almost 96% for the first three quarters of 2015.
In response to questions from financial analysts, Dominion officials said they expect recently-announced nuclear plant retirements in the Northeast should probably put upward pressure on both energy and capacity prices in the Northeast.
Farrell noted that Dominion had to close its own Kewaunee single-unit nuclear plant in the Midwest a few years ago. These are tough decisions, Farrell said. Dominion officials also noted that Dominion’s remaining nuclear units are well-positioned. This includes Millstone, which is the largest nuclear facility in New England.
Progress cited on pipeline, LNG projects
“During the quarter, we made formal [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] FERC filings for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header Project. We plan to begin construction on both projects in the fourth quarter next year,” Farrell said.
Dominion will remain the largest stakeholder and the operator of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, although Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) has announced plans to acquire Piedmont Natural Gas, Farrell said. Duke and Piedmont are both partners in the pipeline.
Meanwhile the Cove Point Liquefaction project in Maryland is 47% complete, the company said. Engineering and procurement of equipment is 95% complete, Dominion said. The main cryogenic heat exchanger was delivered in October and all 34 FERC construction packages have been submitted and approved.
There are about 1,300 workers onsite at Cove Point, Farrell said.
Dominion announced operating earnings for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2015, of $611m ($1.03 per share), compared to operating earnings of $545m ($0.93 per share) for the same period in 2014. Operating earnings are defined as reported earnings, determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), adjusted for certain items.