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Data Center Frontier Details Dominion Energy’s Plans for Renewable Energy to Power VA’s Data Centers

January 28, 2021

This is an excerpt from a larger article which can be found at: https://datacenterfrontier.com/dominion-energy-plans-more-green-power-for-virginias-data-centers/

Dominion Energy Plans More Green Power for Virginia’s Data Centers
Written By Rich Miller

Dominion Energy is developing more renewable energy for its power grid, a welcome development for tech companies seeking more green power for their data centers in Northern Virginia.

The utility’s addition of more solar and wind generation marks a change in strategy for Dominion, which previously featured natural gas as the largest component of its growth plans.

The shift has been influenced by demand for renewables from customers in the data center industry, as well as a shift in the state’s political climate. It will also help address concerns about a shortage of green energy in the largest growth market for cloud computing.

“The data center industry has led the charge in Virginia for renewable power,” said Stan Blackwell, the Director of Customer Service and Strategic Partnerships for Dominion Energy. “For the last three or four years, it is by far the fastest-growing industry in Virginia.”

Northern Virginia has the world’s largest concentration of cloud data centers, filled with servers from hyperscale providers like Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, who all plan to power 100 percent of their operations with renewable energy.

Dominion Energy has outlined several initiatives to boost its renewable generation:
-Dominion is building an offshore wind generation facility that will bring 2.6 gigawatts (GWs) of wind power online between 2024 and 2026. The project, which will feature over 200 giant wind turbines 27 miles off the coast near Virginia Beach, is an expansion of a pilot project that recently entered production.
-Dominion Energy has scaled up its plans for solar energy projects, with a long-term roadmap to add 15.9 GWs of solar generation over the next 15 years. That includes a 1,200-acre solar array at Dulles Airport that is scheduled to come online in 2024.
-The utility has issued a series of RFPs for new renewable capacity – including wind, solar and biogas resources – from both large and small generation projects, hoping to purchase 1.1 GWs of new generation. It also plans to add 2.7 GWs of energy storage, a key strategy to address the intermittent nature of solar and wind generation.
-Dominion is also acquiring renewable projects to support data center customers, such as last week’s deal to buy a 150-megawatt array in Ohio to provide solar power for Facebook. It has done similar projects with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

Those initiatives will dramatically boost the renewables within Dominion’s generation mix, which has been weighted towards nuclear, natural gas and coal. Over time, this will allow data center providers to become less reliant on power purchase agreements (PPAs) to offset the carbon impact of their Virginia operations.

For more information about Dominion Energy Economic Development, visit the company’s website.

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