Note: This piece by Rachel Smucker was originally posted on Secure Futures' company blog on December 13, 2018 and is reposted here with author's permission.
Last week Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) rejected Dominion Energy Virginia’s 15-year Integrated Resource Plan(IRP), making this the first time the SCC has ever outright rejected an IRP from the electric utility company.
Dominion Energy’s 2018 IRP was rejected by the SCC for several reasons:
First, the IRP failed to show a “least-cost” path to meet Virginia’s energy needs, including more robust energy efficiency measures that would reduce load and cut costs for all Dominion customers.
Second, the plan also failed to fully comply with the legislative mandates set forth by the 2018 Grid Transformation and Security Act (GTSA), also known as Senate Bill 966 (SB966), which was signed into law this past March. The plan almost completely brushed over the GTSA requirement to purchase at least 25% of its solar power from third-party solar companies.
Third, the utility company’s IRP also included overinflated load forecasts. The implementation of this self-serving tactic comes to no surprise to anyone familiar with Virginia politics: the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project relies heavily on these claims of greater capacity needs.
In the next 90 days, Dominion Energy must resubmit an IRP to the SCC after it addresses a few fundamental issues:
1. Include a true least-cost plan to meet Virginia’s energy needs
2. Model the implementation of $870 million in energy efficiency programs, required by SB 966
3. Model the 30 megawatt battery storage pilot program, required by SB 966
4. Provide costs associated with the Company’s Strategic Undergrounding Program, Grid Transformation Plan and the Transmission Line Undergrounding Pilot (including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project)
5. Implement a load forecast that uses the Dominion Zone PJM coincident peak load forecast and energy sales forecast, scaled down to the Dominion load serving entity level
According to 5 Lakes Energy and Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (VA-AEE)’s analysis, there is potential for significant savings with the implementation of advanced energy options:
If the Company would allow for more low-cost solar and energy efficiency resources, its electricity system costs would drop between $700M and $1.7B, providing cost savings for residential and business customers.
In addition, VA-AEE says that by sourcing more energy resources in the Commonwealth, Virginia stands to gain the associated economic impact, including sustaining and growing the nearly 100,000 advanced energy jobs.
On behalf of all Dominion ratepayers, Virginia taxpayers, small solar businesses creating jobs in our communities and future generations, we suggest that Dominion Energy Virginia commit to providing cost-savings to its customers by expanding its PPA program, increasing net metering caps, and introducing more low-cost solar and energy efficiency resources into its integrated resource plan.
— Rachel Smucker, Secure Futures