US: Dominion Virginia Power plans $700 million solar infrastructure investment

Richmond, Virginia-based energy firm Dominion Virginia Power has announced plans to invest almost $2 billion a year through 2020 to deliver new capacities of clean energy generation – including solar – and to expand and improve the electric grid of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.

The company will steer some $700 million towards new solar generation infrastructure across its primary region as part of a wider $2.4 billion upgrade of its distribution system and a $3.5 billion spending plan for new generation and environmental improvements.

In 2015, Dominion Virginia Power spent some $1.8 billion on similar investments, so this latest plan represents a slight increase in overall expenditure, but a wider scope for where improvements and upgrades will be carried out.

"We know our customers expect high reliability, clean energy and reasonable rates," said Dominion’s president, Robert M. Blue. "We focus on that in everything we do, from building new infrastructure to day-to-day maintenance."

Since 2008, more than $8 billion has been invested by Dominion on improving its electricity infrastructure, with a large portion of that expenditure steered towards lowering carbon emissions and adding more environmental control equipment, the president added.

The bulk of the company’s carbon reduction efforts have been focused on replacing coal with natural gas, but the $700 million solar investment is an encouraging expansion of Dominion’s PV ambitions.

At the end of 2015, Dominion announced that it will be working with the Virginia administration on the development of 110 MW of solar PV capacity in the state, constructing 75% of the capacity and working with third-party developers to deliver the remainder.