Library from Virginia
Finally, the commission complained that ratepayers will bear the financial brunt of a project that won’t, under any scenario in Dominion’s long-term energy plan, be competitive with other resources for the next 25 years.
The SCC concluded in a scathing 20-page order on Friday that the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project isn’t needed to serve Dominion customers and will cost more than any other option for generating electricity to serve the utility’s 2.6 million customers. The commission was especially direct in noting that the project’s developers won’t bear any of the risk for a project.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission issued this order approving Dominion's proposal to construct a 2-turbine, 12 megawatt wind energy facility 27-miles off the coast of Virginia. The project has a price tag of $300 million. The SCC made clear in its order that it had no choice but to approve the project given current state statutes. However, the approval, according to the SCC's order, was contrary to what it deemed prudent as that term has been applied by this Commission in its long history of public utility regulation. The SCC bowed to the legislative mandate by approving the project. A portion of the order is posted below. The full order can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
In truth, it is hard to imagine a worse factual record, a worse example of wasting ratepayer money and imposing ratepayer risk. For $300 million or more the company will receive only 12 megawatts of power and with the assumed operational efficiency of the turbines that will work out to 78 cents per kilowatt hour. Then a hurricane may wreck it.
Imagine a 6,350-acre parcel close to your home filled with rows and rows of 1.8 million solar panels and the largest solar power farm of its kind east of the Rocky Mountains. Imagine wondering what effect that massive farm would have not only on the local environment, but also the microclimate, because such a project in a populated area is unprecedented.
The $300 million project will be funded through existing base rates, enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act. Contingent on various regulatory approvals, onshore construction would start in 2019, followed by turbine installation and operation in 2020.
Offshore wind power has blown hot and cold in Virginia, but could get a boost Wednesday when the governor’s office expects to introduce the global consultant it’s chosen to help position the state as a major contender.
Before construction, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was commissioned to run a model on how the spinning blades, which reach 500 feet in the air, might distort radar signals. The model showed 104 turbines would work, but no more.
As Virginia utilities prepare to comply with a new state renewable energy requirement, a recent regulatory ruling points to potential complications. A sweeping state energy law takes effect July 1 that, among other things, requires utilities to add 5,000 megawatts of wind and solar by 2028.
The capacity and energy from the generating facilities is not needed by APCo to serve its Virginia customers, the SCC said in its order.
Apex Clean Energy will not start site work by the end of this year, as originally planned, on a project to build up to 25 giant, power-generating turbines on top of a Botetourt County mountain, a company official said Wednesday.
DALEVILLE — A clean energy developer hopes to start construction of a wind farm in Botetourt County by year’s end, even as it continues to search for a power company to purchase electricity generated by the giant turbines.
Sapsuckers are unfortunately one of the causalities from wind turbines. As a bird that migrates at night, it cannot easily see the spinning turbine, and tens of thousands of these birds collide with them and die during the fall and spring migrations. Reducing the number of sapsuckers puts pressure on these other species that depend on them and, even if those dependent animals are not known to collide with wind turbines, the death of one can become the death of many.
"The all-in number is $300 million, and that includes some of the money that has been spent to date by Dominion on research and development," said David Botkins, a Dominion spokesman. ...The deal calls for Dong to build two 6 MW wind turbines 27 miles offshore of Virginia Beach.
In what is called a mitigation plan – which DEQ accepted in approving the application – Apex says it also will avoid cutting trees within five miles of the bats’ caves and within 150 feet of summer roosting trees for northern long-eared bats from early spring to fall. Opponents of the wind farm continue to question assessments that it will not harm birds and bats, pointing out that the supporting research was done by expert firms hired by Apex.
Currituck County officials have imposed a two-month moratorium on building solar farms over concerns raised about the largest array in the eastern United States already underway here. Residents have complained to county commissioners about a 2,000-acre site under construction in Moyock that will be filled with the mirrored-glass panels.
The winds of political change that swept the country last week are not expected to impact a proposed wind farm in Botetourt County.
Wind turbines nearly as tall as the Washington Monument standing on top of North Mountain in Botetourt County would not pose a danger to passing aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration has determined.
The former commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Steve Wright, disputed that the project was likely to benefit the goal of curbing global warming. “I am here because this is a reflection of such poor energy policy and poor climate change policy. This development on public land will do nothing but damage the best habitat for black bears in the state, and will do nothing for climate change action."
In the federal government, nobody has a bigger-picture view of offshore wind energy’s potential than Abigail Ross Hopper.