Dominion CEO: Pilot offshore wind project to begin generating electricity in 2Q20

Dominion Energy CEO Thomas Farrell, II on July 31 said that the company plans to grow its renewable energy capacity on average over 15% per year for the next 15 years

Dominion Energy Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Farrell, II, during the company’s 2Q20 earnings call on July 31 said that Dominion’s pilot offshore wind project “will begin to generate electricity this quarter.”

He continued, “Our $8bn, 2.6-GW, full-scale offshore wind deployment continues on schedule.”

As TransmissionHub reported, Dominion on June 29 said that it has completed the construction of the two-turbine, 12-MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) pilot project 27 miles off Virginia Beach, Va.

The company said that the project is the first offshore wind farm to be approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and installed in federal waters, as well as the second one built in the United States.

The company noted that it will apply the permitting, design, installation, and operations experience from the pilot project to its proposed 2,600-MW commercial project, which is on track to begin construction in 2024. Survey and geotechnical work continues on the 2.6-GW, full-scale wind development, the company said, adding that the surveys will support the development of that project’s Construction and Operations Plan to be submitted to BOEM later this year.

Farrell said during the call that Dominion is investing billions of dollars in a transition that will make zero- and low-emitting resources accountable for around 95% of its company wide electric generation by the end of 2035.

Dominion plans to grow its renewable energy capacity on average over 15% per year for the next 15 years, he said, adding that the company has successfully achieved its 3,000-MW target for renewable generation in service or under development in Virginia a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule.

He also noted that the Virginia State Corporation Commission in July approved the company’s “renewable energy tariff, which enables us to offer an exciting 100% renewable energy product to our customers.”

As noted in a July 2 commission order, Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Energy Virginia in May 2019 filed an application seeking approval of an optional 100% renewable energy tariff, designated Rider TRG, whereby participating customers can voluntarily elect to purchase 100% of their energy and capacity needs sourced from renewable energy resources.

According to the application, for a typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month, Rider TRG would increase a participating customer’s monthly bill by $4.21, or 3.6%.

The commission added that it finds that the Rider TRG should be approved, subject to certain modifications and conditions. Among other things, the commission said that Dominion is to file annual reports on Rider TRG beginning May 1, 2021, and continuing until further order of the commission.

During the call, Farrell said that the company is equally focused on emission reductions at its gas distribution utilities, adding that its efforts “will reduce the methane emissions of our natural gas utility operations 65% by the end of this decade and 80% by the end of the next.”

He also noted that Dominion Energy South Carolina recently made a preliminary filing that formally signaled its intent to file a general rate case proceeding this summer, with new rates expected to be effective in March 2021.

In addition, Farrell noted that Dominion’s transaction with Berkshire Hathaway is on schedule for a 4Q20 closing.

Dominion on July 5 said that it has executed a definitive agreement to sell substantially all of its Gas Transmission & Storage segment assets to an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in a transaction valued at $9.7bn, including the assumption of $5.7bn of existing indebtedness.

Community matters

Farrell said during the call that the company continues to evolve its COVID-19 response to incorporate the most up-to-date guidance from the medical and public health community. Social distancing, proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and, where practical, remote work have become the expectation for all employees, he said, adding that the company is also mindful of its customers and the difficult time this has been for them.

“We have worked closely with regulators to take steps, including the voluntary suspension of non-payment service disconnections and the offering of flexible payment plans to assist our customers in addressing the financial challenges they may be facing,” Farrell said.

He further discussed the company’s efforts on issues impacting its employees, customers, and communities, saying, in part, that Dominion has followed up on its $5m commitment to social justice and community rebuilding efforts with an additional pledge of $35m that will support 11 historically Black colleges and universities, “as well as a scholarship fund focused on African American and underrepresented minority students across all of our service territories.”

Farrell said that Dominion is committed to taking steps to increase its workforce diversity and has “meaningfully improved our supplier diversity.”

Among other things, Farrell discussed his changed role from president and CEO to executive chairman at Dominion.

The company on July 31 announced that Farrell will become the company’s executive chair, effective Oct. 1, and that also effective that date, Robert Blue, executive vice president and co-COO, will be promoted to president and CEO, reporting to Farrell.

Earnings report

Dominion on July 31 announced an unaudited net loss determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (reported earnings) for the three months ended June 30 of $1.2bn ($1.41 per share) compared with a net gain of $54m (5 cents per share) for the same period in 2019. Operating earnings for the three months ended June 30 were $706m (82 cents per share), compared with operating earnings of $619m (77 cents per share) for the same period in 2019, the company said, adding that it estimates that its 2Q20 operating earnings were negatively impacted by 3 cents per share due to worse than normal weather in its utility service territories.

The difference between GAAP and operating earnings for the three months ended June 30 was primarily attributable to impairment-related charges associated with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header projects and net gains on the company’s nuclear decommissioning trust funds, Dominion said, noting that the difference between GAAP and operating earnings for the three months ended June 30, 2019, was primarily attributable to charges related to SCANA merger commitments.




Photo Credit: ID 153592099 © Leonid Sorokin |
About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.