RD719 - Combined Reports: Annual Report on Grid Modernization, Reliability, and Integration of Renewables; Annual Report on the Transmission Line Undergrounding Pilot; Annual Report on Construction of New Solar and Wind Projects; Annual Report on Solar Demonstration Programs; Annual Report on Energy Efficiency Programs, and Biennial Report on Third Party PPA Pilot Program Pursuant to Chapter 382 of the 2013 Virginia Acts of Assembly – December 1, 2021
This document contains the combined reports ("Report") of the Virginia State Corporation Commission ("Commission") pursuant to six provisions of law. The Commission has reviewed and investigated each of the areas or topics listed below, and reports as follows:
Grid Modernization, Reliability, and Integration of Renewables (The Grid Transformation and Security Act ("GTSA"), 2018 Virginia Acts of Assembly Chapter 296):
Concerning reliability, Virginia electric utilities continue to participate in regional transmission planning through PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. ("PJM"), the entity that manages the electric grid primarily at transmission-level voltages. At the distribution level, the Commission monitors reliability in part through utility reports on measures related to tree-trimming and indices that measure frequency and duration of electricity service outages.
Utility-owned and third party owned renewable generation resources are being added to the electric distribution grid. Before connecting utility-scale resources to the electric grid, owners must coordinate with the affected local utility and with PJM. Under certain circumstances, the projects are also subject to Commission approval.
Concerning grid security and hardening activities, the Commission has previously given approval for Virginia Electric and Power Company d/b/a Dominion Energy Virginia ("DEV" or "Dominion") to implement physical security controls at ten substations, and that activity is still ongoing.(*1) The Commission has also previously approved three major components of a DEV proposal to harden parts of the distribution grid, primarily addressing the worst performing distribution feeders, as well as remote customer locations that face extended outages upon failure of critical substation equipment that lacks redundancy.
Both DEV and Appalachian Power Company ("APCo") are expected to have sufficient capacity to meet peak energy demands in the near term, either through company-owned generation or market purchases. Both companies also continue to invest in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. During 2020, such annual investments were:
Company: Dominion Energy Virginia
Company: Appalachian Power Company
Transmission Line Undergrounding Pilot (GTSA, 2018 Virginia Acts of Assembly Chapter 296):
The GTSA established a pilot program for underground electric transmission lines ("Undergrounding Pilot"), consisting of two qualifying projects to be constructed in whole or in part underground. Dominion's Haymarket Project – specifically, its I-66 Hybrid Route – was the first project the Commission approved as part of the Undergrounding Pilot. According to DEV, this project is currently in the construction phase. DEV reports various issues encountered during the construction of this project, resulting in an extension of the estimated completion date from the original date of July 2021 to March 2022. The project's estimated cost has also increased from $171.9 million to $230 million, representing an approximately 34.8% increase.
The Commission also approved, on June 24, 2021, another DEV development as the second qualifying project in the Undergrounding Pilot. This second project is called Dominion's Partial Line #2010 230 kilovolt ("kV") Single Circuit Transmission Line Underground Pilot Project (Tysons-Future Spring Hill Substation). The project will be constructed in Fairfax County at a cost of approximately $30.4 million, and with a projected in-service date of December 31, 2025.
Construction of New Solar and Wind Projects (GTSA, 2018 Virginia Acts of Assembly Chapter 296):
Between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2021, Virginia utilities placed into operation solar facilities totaling 480 megawatts ("MW") of generation power in the Commonwealth. Dominion also has approximately 882 MW of solar generation and 2,632 MW of offshore wind generation off the Commonwealth's Atlantic shoreline under development.(*3) APCo currently has 20 MW of solar energy under development. Third parties are also developing facilities that may provide approximately 2,322 MW of additional solar energy. facilities in the Commonwealth.
Solar Demonstration Programs (2011 Virginia Acts of Assembly Chapter 771):
The Commission has approved two programs under this legislation. First, Dominion's Solar Purchase Program features a tariff designed to facilitate customer-owned distributed solar generation. Second, as part of Dominion's Solar Partnership Program, nine solar projects were constructed by qualifying commercial, industrial, high school, and university customers. These facilities continue to be operational, with a total capacity of 6.4 MW. Total capital expenditures to date represent approximately $26.4 million of the $80 million program cap.
Energy Efficiency Programs (2020 Virginia Acts of Assembly Chapter 1193):
Dominion and APCo have both applied for, and received approval for, energy efficiency programs approval to implement ten new programs and to modify several existing programs. According to DEV analysis, however, the company does not anticipate achieving the VCEA's energy savings targets beginning in 2023. APCo received approval for five new programs in 2021, as well as a three-year voltage conservation pilot program.
Since 2009, the Commission has approved a total of 76 energy efficiency programs and 12 peak shaving programs for Dominion and APCo, including programs filed pursuant to the VCEA. The cumulative total Commission-approved cost cap for these programs for both utilities is approximately $1.21 billion.
Additionally, on August 28, 2020, the Commission established a proceeding to address Dominion's methodologies for conducting evaluation, measurement, and verification of energy savings of approved energy efficiency measures. On October 27, 2021, the Commission issued a Final Order in this case which, among other things, established methodologies to measure and verify DEV's reported energy savings and adopted a dashboard-style summary of DEV's progress towards the goals of the GTSA and VCEA.
Third Party Power Purchase Agreement Pilot Program (2020 Acts of Assembly Chapter 1193):
Under the VCEA, the Third Party Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") Pilot Program is underway for each investor-owned electric utility in Virginia. This program enables the owner or operator of a solar-powered or wind-powered electricity generation facility, located on premises owned or leased by an eligible customer-generator, to sell the electricity generated from such facility exclusively to the eligible customer-generator under a PPA. The pilot programs are limited to aggregated capacity not exceeding: (i) 500 MW for DEV's Virginia jurisdictional and nonjurisdictional customers and (ii) 40 MW for customers of APCo or Kentucky Utilities Company d/b/a Old Dominion Power Company ("ODP").
To date, the cumulative capacity of facilities participating in the Third Party PPA Pilot Program has not yet reached the participation caps for any utility. Notices of intent for each PPA program currently estimate about 70.7 MW, 1.8 MW, and 6.2 MW of solar generating capacity for DEV, APCo and ODP, respectively. It is worth noting that ODP has received notices of intent for almost 53% of its available capacity.