Dominion revives planned Remington solar project with Virginia, Microsoft in key roles

Dominion (NYSE:D) said March 16 that it is joining with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to build a new 20-MW solar project in Remington, Va.

Dominion had previously announced plans for a 20-MW solar project at Remington, which was turned down by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) last fall.

The SCC had expressed concern about cost of the power, compared to other sources, for Virginia ratepayers. The SCC also wanted Dominion to do a request for proposals (RFP) before electing to go with a self-build option.

This time around, the Commonwealth of Virginia will sign a purchase agreement with Dominion to buy 100% of the electricity generated from the project.  Microsoft will purchase and retire the green attributes from the project to satisfy its sustainability goals.

While Dominion will still need SCC approval of a certificate to build the project, the SCC will not have to make any determination on ratepayer impact given the state will be power customer, said a Dominion spokesperson.

The project is anticipated to be in service in late 2017, subject to regulatory approval. In the past year, Dominion has indeed conducted an RFP, the Dominion spokesperson told GeneraitonHub.

“This agreement is a tremendous step forward in our ongoing effort to make Virginia a leader in the renewable energy economy,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe. “This partnership will help lower carbon emissions in Virginia and diversify our energy portfolio, while growing the solar and data center industries in Virginia. This is a prime example of the type of creative thinking and public-private cooperation we need to build a new Virginia economy.”

“By investing in these projects and partnering with states and utilities, Microsoft can provide long-term certainty needed to expand the amount of renewable energy available on the grid,” said Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft. “We are pleased to play a role in this project, as it will bring new, additional clean energy onto the grid in Virginia.”

Dominion Virginia Power will construct the facility on land it already owns in Fauquier County, adjacent to its Remington generating station.

“This forward-looking partnership will assist us in our continued commitment to increase the renewable energy available to serve our customers in Virginia,” said Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell, II. “Microsoft and the Commonwealth play key roles in making this large-scale solar project possible, and we look forward to working with them.”

Dominion has committed to 400 MW of solar in Virginia by 2020. Microsoft has previously announced agreements to purchase 175 MW of wind energy in Illinois that fully powers their Chicago data center with wind energy and 110 MW of wind energy in Texas that powers their San Antonio data center.  

Gov. McAuliffe announced in December that the state would buy solar energy from Virginia under a long-term contract with Dominion.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.