As part of our commitment to provide safe, clean and reliable energy, we drive innovation by researching and evaluating new and emerging energy technologies to assess their commercial viability and potential for building a more sustainable economy.
Alternative Energy Solutions
Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions (AES) group serves as the company’s clearinghouse for research, policy development and investigation of business opportunities related to renewable and alternative energy technologies.
AES consists of three departments:
- Research & Business Development
- Policy & Business Evaluation
- Financial Analysis & Management
In 2012, AES continued to support Dominion’s activities in the areas of solar power, electric vehicles, offshore wind generation, and energy conservation through voltage reduction. The group also expanded its research into other alternative technologies, such as fuel cells and energy storage.
Solar Partnership Program
In November 2012, we received regulatory approval to partner with our customers in studying the impact and benefits of solar power on our electric grid system. As part of this pilot project, Dominion will lease rooftop space on commercial, industrial and governmental facilities and install solar panels ranging in capacity from 500 kilowatts to 2 megawatts. Each site typically requires about 75,000 square feet or more of roof area. Electricity produced by these solar installations will flow back to the power grid and supply enough electricity for 6,000 homes.
Offshore wind energy has great potential, and the AES group is leading Dominion’s efforts to evaluate this green resource. We already have completed two studies on the feasibility of connecting offshore wind generation to Dominion’s onshore transmission grid at Virginia Beach, Va.
In December 2012, a private/public collaborative led by Dominion was one of seven projects selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to receive a $4 million award to engineer, design and permit an offshore wind turbine demonstration facility off the coast of Virginia. Three finalists will be selected by DOE to receive up to $47 million in federal funding over a four-year period to design, install and gather operational data from their offshore wind facilities.
Dominion plans to participate in a 2013 federal auction of commercial lease blocks off the Virginia coast for potential development of up to 2,000 megawatts of wind power – enough to supply 500,000 typical households.
Fuel Cell Technology
Dominion is developing the largest fuel cell power project in North America. Located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the clean-energy facility will produce almost 15 megawatts of electricity through a chemical reaction that converts natural gas to electricity. The project will support about 160 jobs over its 15-year life and is scheduled to begin operating in late 2013. Connecticut Light & Power will purchase the station’s output from Dominion under a 15-year agreement.
Dominion Resources Innovation Center
Formerly the Green Tech Incubator, this advanced technology center provides mentoring and other support services to early-stage companies in a wide range of industrial sectors. The Innovation Center also sponsors a “tech challenge” start-up competition for emerging and second-stage technology or knowledge-based entrepreneurs looking for help in moving their ideas from concept to market. Participants in this annual contest compete for a coveted $10,000 first prize, plus free rent and other prizes.
Virginia Renewable Energy R&D Program
Thanks to a 2012 law enacted by the Virginia legislature, utilities such as Dominion are now allowed to meet up to 20 percent of their Renewable Portfolio Standards targets by investing in qualified R&D projects – either on their own or in partnership with others. Beginning in 2013, Dominion plans to partner with 11 universities in Virginia and provide $1.6 million in funding for a variety of renewable energy and alternative technology projects, including advanced solar cells, biomass resource optimization, onshore and offshore wind public policies and sustainability issues.