Industries Energy/Green

State will partner with Dominion and the Navy to build solar project

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The first solar project to power state operations with carbon-free, renewable energy will be built at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.

In announcing the project Tuesday during an event at Oceana celebrating the Navy’s work on solar energy development, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the commonwealth will purchase all of the energy generated from an 18-megawatt solar facility that will be built by Dominion Virginia Power.

“I want to thank the Department of the Navy and Dominion for joining us in this partnership to diversify Virginia’s energy mix and enhance the security of our energy infrastructure,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

Dominion will build, own and operate the solar facility located within the fence line of Naval Air Station Oceana. In addition to purchasing the power, the commonwealth will retain and retire renewable energy certificates that will be used to satisfy a portion of the state renewable procurement goal.  The solar facility is expected to begin service in late 2017.

“This project satisfies over 16 percent of the governor’s procurement goal and sends a signal to the clean energy market that Virginia is a welcoming place for renewable energy developers, both large and small,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus also commented on the significance of the project. “Today, the state of Virginia, the Hampton Roads community, Dominion Virginia Power and our Navy and Marine Corps are joining together to add to our success, to protect the future of NS Norfolk and NAS Oceana and to enhance national security for the American people.”

In December 2014, the governor announced that the state would procure up to 8 percent of its electricity consumption from renewable resources within three years. The goal represents approximately 110 megawatts of installed renewable capacity.

In addition to Tuesday’s announcement, the Department of Navy has another agreement with Dominion Virginia Power to increase its use of renewable energy. Last year, Dominion and the Navy signed a 10-year contract for the Navy to buy 25 megawatts from a solar facility in North Carolina that will provide nearly 6 percent of the energy needed at Naval Station Norfolk.

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