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Appalachian Power plans for solar, wind power

  • Jan 14, 2022
Smith Mountain Eagle

Appalachian Power, whose service area includes parts of the Smith Mountain Lake area, seeks to acquire or contract for 294 megawatts (MW) of solar and 204 MW of wind power over the next three years as part of its long-range plan to meet the renewable energy targets established by the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA).

Passed in 2020 by the General Assembly, the law requires the utility to file an annual plan with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) outlining how it will meet key mandates as it reaches 100 percent carbon-free status by 2050.

The plan filed recently with the SCC is the company's second update since the VCEA became law. Appalachian Power stated that it intends to meet its VCEA targets primarily through investments in solar, wind, energy storage, and purchase of market renewable energy certificates (RECs). 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. By 2040, the company expects to add approximately 3,300 MW of solar, 2,600 MW of energy storage, and nearly 3,000 MW of onshore wind to its current portfolio of wind and hydro resources.

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. In the filing, the company seeks permission to recover the costs associated with the purchase of the facility. 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, West Virginia, and a 4.9 MW solar facility in Amherst County.

The company's short-term plans also include the purchase of a 150 MW solar facility in Pittsylvania County. The company is seeking permission from the SCC to move forward with its intention to acquire the project, as well as regulatory approval to enter into agreements to purchase the output of three Virginia solar facilities via power purchase agreements (PPAs). 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," said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer. "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."

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