Duke Energy Begins Work on 94 MW Of New Solar Projects
On July 27, 2020, Duke Energy Corporation (“Duke Energy”) announced the commencement of construction on two new major utility-scale solar projects in western North Carolina. One project is a 69-megawatt (“MW”) facility located in Maiden, Catawba County, and the other is a 25 MW facility located in Bessemer City, Gaston County.
These projects will add to Duke Energy’s solar power portfolio in North Carolina, which currently consists of 40 solar facilities with a combined capacity of more than 3,300 MW. The projects were selected as part of the competitive bidding process under North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement of Renewable Energy (“CPRE”) program, pursuant to HB589, which significantly reformed the state’s renewable energy procurement laws.
Duke Energy to Use Utility-Scale Solar and Grid Modernization to Fill the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Gap
On July 5, 2020, Dominion Energy, Inc. (“Dominion”) announced an agreement to sell its gas transmission and storage assets to Berkshire Hathaway Energy and focus on utility-scale solar and grid modernization. Additionally, that day, Dominion Energy agreed to abandon the multi-billion-dollar Atlantic Coast Pipeline project with Duke Energy that was planned to bring natural gas from West Virginia to gas-fired plants in Virginia and North Carolina.
Duke Energy planned to use the natural gas from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to help reduce its fleet-wide carbon emissions. The company pledged that by the year 2030, it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and end carbon emissions entirely by 2050. Trade press reported that the company will fill some of the gap left in capital investment from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline with grid modernization measures, and will further detail alternatives to achieving its emission goals in its 2020 integrated resource plan (or IRP) to be filed in September.
Dominion Energy Adds 62.5-MW Solar Project to Renewable Assets in Virginia
On August 17, 2020, Dominion announced the acquisition of the Madison Solar Facility, a 62.5-MW solar project located in Orange County, Virginia, from Cypress Creek Renewables. The facility is scheduled to begin service during the second quarter of 2022.
Northrop Grumman, a Falls Church, Virginia-based company, will receive the total output of energy from the Madison Solar Facility and the related renewable energy credits. The company expects the energy to meet all of its electricity needs for operations, including manufacturing and administrative offices.
In the wake of the Virginia Clean Economy Act requirement for zero-carbon electricity by 2045, as reported in ReNEWS Southeast Volume 15, Dominion plans to create solar capacity by 16,000 MW. With the acquisition of the Madison Solar Facility, Dominion met is 2018 goal of adding 3,000 MW to its assets by the beginning of 2022.
Community Energy Announces 50 MW Solar Power Purchase in Kentucky
On July 30, 2020, Community Energy Inc., a national renewable energy project developer, announced an agreement with Henderson Municipal Power & Light (“HMP&L”) for the output of a new solar energy farm. Through a 20-year term Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”), HMP&L will purchase all of the 50 megawatt (“MW”) energy produced by the solar project. The project is being developed in Henderson County, Kentucky, with commercial operation expected by 2023.
HMP&L, as a municipal electric utility, facilitates approximately 600,000 MW-hours of demand annually and serves as a Transmission Owning Member of the Midcontinent Transmission System Operator (“MISO”). The energy output of the project is expected to meet 20 percent of the electric demand for HMP&L. Community Energy facilitates development and financing for renewable energy projects and has done so for approximately 2,000 MW of energy so far.
Origis and Gainesville Regional Utility Sign PPA for Hybrid Solar Project
On July 17, 2020, Gainesville Regional Utilities (“GRU”) and solar developer Origis Energy announced that they had signed a power purchase agreement for the purchase of resources from a solar-plus-storage project, FL Solar 6, in Alachua County to be completed in late 2022. The Solar 6 facility will generate 50 MW of solar PV with 12 MW of energy storage.
To date, GRU’s resources include the 103 MW biomass-fired Deerhaven Renewable Generation Station, 3.6 MW of landfill-gas fired units, 18.5 MW of feed-in tariff accredited solar, and 9 MW of customer-owned and net-metered solar connected to its distribution system. The purchase is a step toward GRU’s target of providing 100% renewable power by 2045, which the City of Gainesville approved in 2018.