Wise Energy responds to Dominion’s Integrated Resource Plan

newspaperDominion’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is required to evaluate how the company will meet its customer’s energy needs over the next fifteen years at the lowest reasonable cost. In a report released earlier this week,  entitled “Changing Course: A Clean Energy Investment Plan for Dominion Virginia Power,” a team of independent research firms showed that accelerating investments in clean energy resources like solar, wind, and energy efficiency would cost less than building large new fossil-fired power plants.

“The environmental and public health benefits of clean energy resources have long been clear,” said Angela Navarro, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “With the low cost of energy efficiency resources and the rapidly decreasing costs of solar and wind, there is now also an economic case to be made for Dominion to increase reliance on clean energy. Unfortunately, Dominion’s plan does not begin to capture the full cost-effective potential of these resources.”

We are still reviewing the filing, but our preliminary assessment of a few key issues includes the following:

Solar: Dominion’s IRP includes plans to increase investments in solar energy from 34 MW by 2027 in their prior plan to 220 MW by 2028 in the 2013 filing. However, this is far short of the 2,450 MW of solar that the Changing Course report demonstrated that Dominion could add through company-owned and customer-owned installations. It is also far short of the 735 MW that the Georgia regulators have required Georgia Power to add by 2016, after determining that increasing investments in solar will not raise customer rates.

Wind: Dominion did not select a plan that would take advantage of the estimated 2,000 MW of offshore wind in the Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Area, even though the company has publicly stated that it will bid in the federal government’s September 4th competitive lease auction. Rather, Dominion’s only plans regarding offshore wind include a small 12 MW offshore wind demonstration project.

Efficiency: While the Changing Course report revealed that Dominion could implement energy efficiency programs that would cost-effectively conserve 1.3% of energy sales each year going forward, for a total of almost 3,000 MW by 2027, Dominion’s plans would reach just 544 MW by 2028.  Because efficiency is Dominion’s lowest cost resource, failing to take advantage of all cost-effective opportunities puts ratepayers at risk of bearing higher costs.

Retirements: “We are pleased to see that Dominion is continuing its plan to retire Yorktown Power Station Units 1 and 2 and Chesapeake Energy Center Units 1 through 4 by the end of next year. Continuing to operate these old, dirty coal-fired units, which were built in the 1950s and 1960s, would be prohibitively expensive for Dominion’s customers.”


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