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

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 05th January

Appalachian Power, a utility serving Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, announced it seeks to acquire or contract for 294 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% carbon-free status by 2050.

The plan filed last week with the SCC is the company’s second update since the VCEA became law. Appalachian Power 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.

“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.”

In addition to the nearly 500 MW in solar and wind projects outlined by the company, the plan includes 55 MW of separate solar projects that are or will be in service in the coming months.

The company is considering adding energy storage to improve reliability for customers who receive power from the company’s Glade Station — White Top circuit in southwest Virginia. The energy storage project would improve reliability by providing a back-up source of power when an outage occurs. Although included in the filing, the project is still in the planning stages.

Customer bills are expected to increase as the company adds more renewables to comply with the VCEA’s requirements. Any increase related to this filing will depend on a variety of factors including customer class, usage and regulatory outcomes. If approved as requested, residential customers using 1,000 kWh a month will see an approximate $2.37 increase in their monthly bill.

News item from Appalachian Power