Dominion, AG reach proposed agreement in offshore wind case

Oct 28, 2022, 3:40 PM | Updated: 4:17 pm
FILE - Two of the offshore wind turbines, which have been constructed off the coast of Virginia Bea...

FILE - Two of the offshore wind turbines, which have been constructed off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., are seen, June 29, 2020. As Virginia-based Dominion Energy has agreed to implement several consumer protections in connection with its massive offshore wind project under a proposed agreement with the office of the Virginia attorney general and other parties released Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Dominion Energy has agreed to implement several consumer protections in connection with its massive offshore wind project under a proposed agreement with the office of the Virginia attorney general and other parties released Friday.

The proposed agreement, which includes performance reporting requirements and provisions laying out a degree of construction cost sharing, is still subject to final approval by the State Corporation Commission.

Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican whose office represents the interests of consumers in utility regulation proceedings, said the agreement would provide “first-of-its-kind” protections for ratepayers while ensuring the 176-turbine project with an estimated $9.8 billion capital cost moves forward in a fiscally responsible way.

“I am pleased that we have achieved consumer protections never seen before in modern Virginia history,” Miyares said in a statement. “For the first time Dominion has significant skin in the game to ensure that the project is delivered on budget. Should the project run materially over budget, it will come out of Dominion’s pocket, not consumers,” he said.

Dominion filed its application to build and recover the costs of the project with the State Corporation Commission nearly a year ago. That kicked off a lengthy process before the regulatory agency, one that has included voluminous filings and an evidentiary hearing in May.

The commission in August signed off on the project, but it included a consumer protection provision — a performance guarantee — that Dominion strenuously objected to, saying it would kill the project.

The parties to Friday’s proposal said they had conferred since then and reached the terms of the proposed agreement. It calls for a cost-sharing arrangement for any overruns beyond the estimated $9.8 billion price tag. The company would cover 50% of construction costs between the range of $10.3-$11.3 billion and 100% of costs between $11.3-$13.7 billion. If construction costs were to exceed $13.7 billion, the issue would go back to the commission.

The proposal would not require the company to guarantee certain energy production levels, like the SCC had initially ordered. Rather, Dominion will have to report average net capacity factors annually and “provide a detailed explanation of the factors contributing to any deficiency.” Capacity factor is a measure of how often a generating facility runs during a period of time.

Richmond-based Dominion said in a news release that the deal would provide “significant customer benefits.”

“I appreciate the thoughtful effort of all parties in reaching a constructive agreement to allow the project to continue moving forward,” said Bob Blue, Dominion’s chair, president and and chief executive officer.

Also parties to the agreement are Walmart, Virginia’s largest private employer, and two conservation groups: Appalachian Voices and the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Will Cleveland, an attorney for SELC, emphasized in a statement that the primary issue in the case was “never about offshore wind’s value but the risks created by the ownership structure.”

No other offshore wind project under development in the U.S. is funded by captive ratepayers, and no other project has a monopoly utility owner acting as its own general contractor, the law center said.

The project, which will be located about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, has drawn broad support from local officials, policymakers, business groups and trade unions, who say it will help fight climate change and create jobs.

The company already has a two-turbine pilot project up and running. The 2.6-gigawatt, utility-scale project’s schedule calls for construction to be complete in late 2026. Dominion expects the project to generate enough clean energy to power up to 660,000 homes.

Clean Virginia, an environmental and rate reform advocacy group that is a party to the proceeding, did not oppose the agreement, which it said in a statement represented a “vast improvement” for consumers.

“Absent pressure from environmental advocates, the Office of the Attorney General, regulatory staff, and Walmart, Dominion would have proceeded with one of the most expensive energy projects to date in Virginia with few consumer protections and would have faced little performance expectations to actually generate consistent clean energy,” Laura Gonzalez, the group’s energy policy manager, said in a statement.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Shooting in Atlanta neighborhood kills 1 person, wounds 5

ATLANTA (AP) — A shooting in an Atlanta neighborhood Saturday evening killed one person and wounded five, police said. The Atlanta Police Department said several shots were fired during a dispute around 8 p.m. on the 17th Street bridge in Atlantic Station, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Police said the shooting occurred after a group of […]
21 hours ago
FILE - A lobster rears its claws after being caught off Spruce Head, Maine, Aug. 31, 2021. Environm...
Associated Press

Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols

Environmental groups are at odds with politicians in New England in the wake of a decision by Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster.
21 hours ago
A crime scene is taped off at New Season Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Me...
Associated Press

Drive-by shooting injures 2 at funeral at Nashville church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A drive-by shooting in Nashville on Saturday injured two people as they and others were walking out of church from the funeral of a woman who was fatally shot earlier this month, according to police. Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said the afternoon shooting occurred outside New Season Church, […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah, is pictured on Sept. 15, 2015. A woman died and a ...
Associated Press

Woman dies on hike in Utah’s Zion Park, husband rescued

A woman died and a man was rescued after they were caught in extreme cold weather while hiking in Utah's Zion National Park.
21 hours ago
FILE - Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Mich., N...
Associated Press

Trump faulted for dinner with white nationalist, rapper Ye

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is renewing attention to his long history of turning a blind eye to bigotry after dining with a Holocaust-denying white nationalist and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West just days into his third campaign for the White House. Trump had dinner Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago club […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

12-year-old dies in Russian Roulette; murder charges brought

A 12-year-old boy is dead after playing Russian Roulette with peers in Jackson, Mississippi, police say. Jackson’s Deputy Police Chief Deric Hearn identified the boy as Markell Noah, according to reports by Mississippi-based WLBT-TV. Following the death officers arrested two juveniles and one adult Friday. Police say the two juveniles are being charged with murder […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Dominion, AG reach proposed agreement in offshore wind case