January 12, 2023
US utility Dominion Energy’s subsidiary in South Carolina has contracted a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a US$200 million solar-plus-storage power plant in the state.
Large-scale solar PV and energy storage developer Southern Current announced yesterday (11 January) that the PPA has been signed with Dominion Energy South Carolina (DESC) for the Lone Star Solar project.
It’s one of four large-scale clean energy projects featured as highlights of Southern Current parent company EnergyRe’s portfolio on its website and will include 107.8MWdc of solar PV generation capacity together with a 198MWh battery energy storage system (BESS).
Rated power output of the battery system was not given in MW. The 572-acre site in South Carolina’s Calhoun County is expected to go into commercial operation at an unspecified date next year.
EnergyRe, which gave the estimated investment cost of the project as about US$200 million, said that in addition to clean energy, the project would also generate US$10 million in property taxes paid to the state each year. Meanwhile its construction phase will create about 185 jobs, the company said.
EnergyRe acquired the project fairly recently, as part of Southern Current’s pipeline when it acquired the developer in Q3 2022. Southern Current is headquartered in South Carolina, with a 9GW solar PV and energy storage development portfolio.
Its new parent company’s other major projects in development include the CleanPath NY project, which if it goes ahead will see 3.8GW of new-build wind and solar generation capacity paired with 175 miles of underground high voltage DC transmission, to carry renewable energy to demand centres in the state of New York.
Meanwhile, the Lone Star Solar project is thought to represent Dominion Energy South Carolina’s first major investment into large-scale battery storage – it will certainly be the largest on the utility’s network to date.
Dominion Energy, active in eight different US states, has been slower to procure battery storage than some other investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in the country, but that looks set to change, especially in Virginia.
As one of the main utilities in the state, it has been ordered to fulfil a significant portion of Virginia’s 3.1GW by 2035 energy storage deployment target which became law as part of state clean energy policy at the start of 2021. The company’s first 16MW of BESS pilot projects toward that aim are up and running in Virginia. Dominion is targeting net zero emissions by 2050.
Going back to the topic of utilities and energy storage in the Carolinas, the regional subsidiary of another major utility, Duke Energy, filed a carbon emissions reduction plan last May for its operations in the two states with regulators in which Duke said it wanted to invest in up to 5.9GW of battery storage.