RD151 - Virginia Electric and Power Company d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power 2016 Integrated Resource Plan - April 29, 2016
Dominion Virginia Power ("Dominion" or the "Company") is pleased .to submit to the Virginia State Corporation Commission ("Commission") its 2016 Integrated Resource Plan (the "2016 Plan" or "Plan") for the planning period of 2017-2031. The Plan is submitted in accordance with § 56-599 of the Code of Virginia. Simultaneously, the Plan is being filed in North Carolina, where the Company does business as Dominion North Carolina Power, with the North Carolina Utilities Conunission ("NCUC"). This filing is in accordance with § 62.2 of the North Carolina General Statutes and Rule RS-60 of the Rules and Regulations of the NCUC.
The 2016 Plan, as did its 2015 predecessor, recognizes that the electric utility industry and Dominion are in the midst of a period of unprecedented change, in large part due to the pending implementation of the final federal Clean Power Plan ("CPP"), setting for the first time limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the final CPP on August 3, 2015, under the authority of Section 111 (d) of the federal Clean Air Act. The final CPP gives states several pathways to achieve compliance, either through rate-based approaches limiting carbon intensity (the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of electricity generated) or through mass-based approaches imposing tonnage limits on total state electric system carbon dioxide emissions. The Commonwealth of Virginia's Depa1tment of Environmental Quality ("DEQ") in November 2015 began a stakeholder process to gain input on the development of a state plan to implement the CPP, a process in which Dominion actively participated.
Additional uncertainty was injected into the future of carbon regulation when the Supreme Court of the United States, on a 5-4 vote, issued an order on February 9, 2016 staying the CPP. The stay will continue in effect until the pending judicial review of the CPP is completed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ("D.C. Circuit Court") and possibly by the Supreme Court itself. The duration of this stay cannot currently be determined, nor can the exact future of the ultimate form of the federal rule.
However, the Company has elected to continue evaluating and planning for CPP compliance for several reasons. First, the Commonwealth, notwithstanding the stay, has announced it will continue development of a state plan. (North Carolina and West Virginia, however, have suspended work on their state plans. Dominion operates fossil-fueled generating units in both states.) Next, Dominion believes the Company will be required to address power station carbon emissions in some manner, regardless of the outcome of the CPP's current legal challenges.
It should also be noted that Dominion is not a formal party to the lawsuits seeking to have the rule overturned by the federal courts. In an Amicus Curiae brief filed with the D.C. Circuit Court on April 1, 2016, the Company said, "Dominion believes that, if key compliance flexibilities are maintained in the Rule, states adopt reasonable implementation plans, and government permitting and regulatory authorities efficiently process permit applications and perform regulatory oversight required to facilitate the timely development of needed gas pipeline and electric transmission infrastructure, then compliance is feasible for power plants subject to the Rule."