Dominion Begins Operations on Largest Battery Storage Pilot Project in Virginia

Dominion Energy Virginia recently inaugurated its largest operational battery storage pilot project. It was energized at Scott Solar’s Powhatan County facility. The company also has two other battery storage pilot project in its portfolio: a 2MW battery in New Kent County, which was commissioned in February, and a 2MW battery in Hanover County, which is expected to be operational in the latter part of this year. The Virginia State Corporation Commission approved all three projects in February 2020.

The three pilot projects that comprise 16 MW of utility-scale battery storage are the first in Virginia. Dominion Energy uses lithium-ion batteries like electric cars to better understand how this technology can be used in various applications that will benefit our customers.

“Battery storage is an integral component to the clean energy transition in Virginia, supporting grid reliability for our customers during periods of high demand and by helping to fill gaps due to the inherent intermittency of solar and wind power,” says Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia. “These battery systems will help us better understand how best to deploy utility scale batteries across our service territory to support our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.”

These three projects, all located in Central Virginia, provide key information about different uses for batteries on the grid. Annual updates on the pilots’ performance will be reported to the SCC.

Three independent 4-hour battery systems, totaling 12MW, at the Scott Solar facility will provide valuable data on the ability of battery technology. They can store solar panels’ energy during high production periods and release that energy when the load is low. It would also reveal how efficient a battery is at optimizing power production for the solar facility.

A 2 MW, 2-hour battery located at a substation in Ashland, Hanover County, will increase the grid capacity to support customers during high energy demand times without the need for wholesale equipment upgrades.

A 2 MW battery, running for 2 hours, located in New Kent County, will serve a 20 MW solar plant. It will demonstrate how batteries can manage voltage and loading issues due to reverse energy flow.

Dominion Energy received regulatory approval by the Virginia SCC in addition to these pilot projects. Dominion Energy will be installing Dry Bridge storage of 20 MW in Chesterfield County and storage at Dulles International Airport (Loudoun County).