Dominion, Appalachian Power team up to expand energy storage
Electric utility giants to develop more capacity in SWVA
Virginia electric utility giants Appalachian Power and Dominion Energy Inc. announced Tuesday a public-private partnership with InvestSWVA that aims to expand renewable energy storage technology and attract industry prospects in Southwest Virginia.
“With the greater proliferation of renewables, energy storage expansion will be a vital component in providing stability to our grid and support our customer’s needs,” Dominion Energy Virginia President Ed Baine said in a statement. “Dominion Energy looks forward to working with our partners to support economic development in Southwest Virginia, which has long served as Virginia’s energy corridor.”
The partnership also includes the Appalachian School of Law, Mountain Empire Community College and the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority. As Dominion Energy increases its wind power footprint the coast of Virginia Beach, the company is evaluating the potential for a pumped storage facility in Southwest Virginia — while Appalachian Power will research energy storage improvements for customers to attract new business and industry to the region.
“As a leader in renewable energy, we are excited by the opportunity and potential this presents to further diversify our energy mix,” Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Last year, Appalachian produced approximately 2,400 gigawatt-hours of energy from wind and hydro power and as our investment in renewables grows, so will our need for energy storage.”
Dominion Energy is also working to increase its solar fleet and will soon begin construction on four Central Virginia energy storage projects approved by the State Corporation Commission. The company’s pumped storage facility in Southwest Virginia will compliment the Bath County Pumped Storage Station, according to Dominion.
Appalachian Power for more than 50 years has operated its Smith Mountain pumped storage facility, which holds water to harness energy as needed. The company under the Clean Energy Act has also committed to providing customers at least 600 megawatts of solar energy in Virginia by 2030. Dominion’s most recent forecast calls for approximately 16,000 megawatts of solar power in the state during the next 15 years.
Economic development firm Coalfield Strategies LLC, which leads InvestSWVA, will coordinate project efforts with both utilities.
“Virginia’s utilities are best positioned to drive the development and deployment of energy storage technology,” Coalfield Strategies Managing Partner Will Payne, InvestSWVA lead, said in a statement. “Our team is excited to work with Appalachian Power and Dominion Energy in attracting industry prospects to Southwest Virginia, and we have assembled partners that demonstrate the region’s desire to redefine itself as the energy innovation capital of the East Coast.”
Coalfield Strategies will also tap the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority and the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority for collaboration on the projects.
The Appalachian School of Law will provide educational and legal expertise in energy storage incentives for the partnership and Mountain Empire Community College will help to address workforce development considerations.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee and is part of American Electric Power, a Fortune 500 electric utility that employs 17,400 people and serves nearly 5.4 million customers.
Dominion Energy is a Fortune 500 utility with 16,100 employees and more than 7 million customers in 18 states.