Appalachian Power Hopes to Add 500 MW of Renewable Energy in Near Future

Appalachian Power is seeking to acquire or contract 294 MW solar power and 204MW wind power in the next three-years as part of its long term plan to meet the Virginia Clean Economy Act’s renewable energy targets. The law, which was passed by the General Assembly in 2020, requires Appalachian Power to file an annual report with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. It outlines how it will fulfill key mandates and help it reach 100% carbon-free status before 2050.

The plan filed with the SCC is the company’s second update since the VCEA became law. Appalachian Power will invest in solar, wind energy storage, market renewable energy certificates (RECs) to meet its VCEA goals. The company’s short-term plans are to add nearly 500 MW of solar and wind power to the company’s renewables portfolio over the next three years. The company anticipates adding approximately 3,300 MW to its current portfolio of hydro and wind resources, 2,600MW of energy storage, and nearly 3,000MW of onshore winds to its portfolio by 2040.  

The largest project in the short-term plan will add 204 MW of wind energy to the company’s renewables portfolio. Located in Illinois, the project is expected to be operational in December 2024, and represents Appalachian Power’s largest wind resource project to date. The company files a request to recover costs associated with the purchase. The company also seeks approval to recover the costs associated with purchase of two solar energy projects – a 50 MW solar facility in Berkeley County, W.Va. and a 4.9 MW solar facility in Amherst County, Va.

The company’s short-term plans also include the purchase of a 150 MW solar facility in Pittsylvania County, Va. The company is requesting permission from the SCC for the acquisition of the project. They also need regulatory approval to enter into power purchase agreement (PPAs) agreements to purchase the output from three Virginia solar facilities. The three solar facilities will add approximately 89 MW of power to the company’s energy supply.

 “This is our company’s most extensive filing yet,” states Chris Beam, Appalachian Power’s president and COO. “The update filed with state regulators reflects the in-depth analysis necessary to ensure sufficient resources are in place to provide affordable and reliable power for our customers while continuing to build our renewables portfolio and meet our VCEA requirements.”

The company also outlined nearly 500 MW of wind and solar projects. In addition, 55 MW of other solar projects will be in service within the next few months. The company will seek to include in rates costs associated with these projects as well the Amherst project. Market REC purchases are also necessary for annual compliance. 

The company is considering adding energy storage to improve reliability for customers who receive power from the company’s Glade Station – White Top circuit in southwest Virginia. The energy storage project would improve reliability and provide a backup source for power in case of an outage. Although the project was included in the application, it is still in planning stages.