Dominion Energy plans four energy storage pilot studies in Virginia

Dominion Energy plans to invest in and develop four battery storage pilot projects in Virginia.

The four utility-scale projects would total 16 MW and be the largest of their kind in the state, Dominion Energy Virginia reported this week. The utility has filed to seek approval from the State Corporation Commission.

“Energy storage is critical to providing continued reliability for our customers as we expand our renewable portfolio,” said Mark D. Mitchell, vice president ” generation construction. “Battery storage has made significant strides in recent years, in both efficiency and cost. These pilot projects will enable Dominion Energy to better understand how best to deploy batteries to help overcome the inherent fluctuation of wind and solar generation sources.”

The four proposed central Virginia lithium-ion projects will cost about $33 million to build and offer 5-years’ worth of test data, according to Dominion. They include two battery systems totaling 12 MW at the Scott Solar facility, and two separate 2-MW batteries operating at substations in Ashland and New Kent County.

The Ashland pilot project would explore how batteries can improve reliability and save money on equipment replacement such as transformers. The Scott Solar site will offer a demonstration on how batteries can store solar-generated energy and then release it to the grid during high load or low solar output periods.

The New Kent County project would examine voltage and loading issues caused by reverse energy flow.

“These pilot projects will allow us to analyze the use of energy storage for grid stability support as an alternative to traditional upgrades of grid equipment, such as transformers,” noted Joe Woomer, vice president”grid & technical solutions. “Battery storage has the potential to serve a key role in maintaining reliable service for our customers as we work to integrate renewables and improve grid resiliency.”

Pending state regulatory approval, the pilots would be evaluated over a five year period once operational as currently expected in December 2020.

Dominion separately has issued a request for proposals on up to 500 MW of solar and onshore wind power in Virginia.

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