Amazon HQ2 and Arlington County government will be solar powered
Arlington and Amazon will purchase power from Dominion solar farm in Pittsylvania County
Arlington County and Amazon.com Inc. have entered into agreements with Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc. to purchase power for local government operations and Amazon’s HQ2 East Coast headquarters from a solar farm more than 200 miles away in Southern Virginia.
The Arlington County Board voted Tuesday to approve the agreement with Dominion to procure power from the solar farm Dominion is constructing in Pittsylvania County. Arlington County is expected to purchase approximately one-third of the solar farm’s output to power county government operations, while Amazon announced it will purchase the remaining output under a separate agreement to power HQ2, as well as other Amazon-owned properties around Virginia, including distribution centers and Whole Foods Market grocery stores.
The solar farm is anticipated to be operational by 2022.
Patrick Leonard, senior manager of Amazon’s renewable energy procurement team, led Amazon’s negotiations for the solar project. “My role working with the team in Arlington County involved sharing perspectives on how to strategically assess a renewable energy project that is right for a business or a government and the environment,” Leonard said in a statement. “Once this project is complete, we will continue to look for ways to advance our commitment to sustainability in Arlington.”
This project is part of Amazon’s commitment to The Climate Pledge, an Amazon-cofounded initiative that aims to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals to mitigate climate change 10 years early. The pledge calls for signatory businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.
The Dominion solar farm in Pittsylvania is expected to generate approximately 80% (79,000 megawatt-hours of energy) of Arlington County’s electric energy needs for local government operations, including powering county buildings, traffic signals and water pumping and wastewater treatment facilities. The county’s 2019 Community Energy Plan calls for using renewable energy sources to power at least 50% of county operations by 2022.
“This is a groundbreaking partnership for the county,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “It will take us a long way toward our goal of 100% use of renewable sources for all electricity used in government operations by 2025.”
Under the new solar agreement with Dominion, the county will not have to pay any capital funding or upfront costs. Rather, the solar farm will generate electricity that Dominion will sell into the wholesale electric grid and charge at market rates. The county says that the solar project will not have any impact on current Dominion customer rates and the agreement was designed to be cost-neutral.
Dominion has more than seven million customers in 18 states and has more than $100 billion in assets.