Appalachian Power plans to add 294 MW of solar over next three years

Appalachian Power, a utility Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, announced it plans to acquire or contract 294 MW of solar and 204 MW of wind over the next three years as part of its long-term plan to meet renewable energy targets set by the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA). The law, passed in 2020 by the General Assembly, requires the utility to submit an annual plan to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) outlining how it will meet key mandates if it achieves 100% carbon-free status by 2050.

The plan submitted to the SCC last week is the company’s second update since the VCEA became law. Appalachian Power plans to meet its VCEA targets primarily through investments in solar, wind, energy storage and the purchase of renewable energy market certificates (RECs). The company’s short-term plans are to add nearly 500 MW of solar and wind power to the company’s renewable energy 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 power to its current portfolio of wind and hydro power sources.

“This is our company’s most comprehensive request to date,” said Chris Beam, president and chief operating officer of Appalachian Power. “The update submitted to state regulators reflects the in-depth analysis needed to ensure there are sufficient resources to provide affordable and reliable power to our customers as we continue to build our renewable portfolio. energy and meeting our VCEA requirements.”

In addition to the nearly 500 MW of solar and wind projects the company is outlining, the plan includes 55 MW of individual solar projects that are or will be commissioned in the coming months.

The company is considering adding energy storage to improve reliability for customers receiving power from the company’s Glade Station – White Top circuit in southwest Virginia. The energy storage project is said to improve reliability by providing a backup power source in the event of a failure. Although included in the submission, the project is still in the planning stage.

Customer bills are expected to rise as the company adds more renewables to meet the requirements of the VCEA. Any increase associated with this application will be subject to a number of factors, including customer class, usage and regulatory outcome. If approved as requested, residential customers consuming 1,000 kWh per month will see an increase of approximately $2.37 on their monthly bill.

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