Industries Energy/Green

Dominion Energy Inc. acquires 80-megawatt solar farm on Eastern Shore for undisclosed price

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Dominion Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Richmond-based Dominion, announced the acquisition Monday of an 80-megawatt solar facility on the Eastern Shore for an undisclosed price.

The facility, under development by Community Energy Inc. in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Inc., is one of the largest solar projects in the mid-Atlantic region,

Construction on the Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East is expected to begin later this year, Dominion said, with the facility entering service in fall 2016.  Interconnection agreements already have been secured with Delmarva Power and an engineering, procurement and construction contract has been signed.

The project is located in Accomack County near Oak Hall. Initially announced in June, it began as part of a long-term power purchase agreement with AWS, an affiliate of Amazon's cloud-computing business, and Radnor, Pa.-based Community Energy.

The motivation behind the solar farm is Amazon’s long-term goal to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure, with a milestone goal of achieving 40 percent renewable energy use by the end of 2016. According to Dominion, the power from Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East will enable AWS to increase renewable energy on the electrical grid that supplies both current and future AWS data centers.

The farm was the first project approved under Virginia's permit-by-rule process for renewable energy projects with generating capacities of less than 100 megawatts. The statute streamlines the permitting process, allowing the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to issue bulk permits to construct and operate qualifying renewable energy projects.

"We look forward to expanding our relationship with Amazon as it seeks to increase the mix of renewable energy on the electric grid powering its data centers," Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion, said in a statement.

The project is expected to qualify for the federal investment tax credit.

Dominion has 425 megawatts of solar generating capacity in operation or expected to enter service in 2015 in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee and Utah.

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