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Dominion (D) Explores Renewable Options to Meet Emission Goal

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Dominion Energy’s D unit, Dominion Energy Virginia and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority are exploring the possibility of developing a 100-megawatt (MW) solar energy project on 1,200 acres land at the Washington Dulles International Airport.

This solar project, on approval, will come online by 2030 and provide clean power to nearly 25,000 homes in Northern Virginia. The project will assist Dominion to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 55% within 2030 from 2005 levels.

Utilities Focused on Cutting Emissions

Dominion’s long-term target is to cut carbon emissions by 80% in 2050 from 2005 levels. It is also progressing toward the goal of adding 3,000 MW of solar or wind in operation or under development in the state of Virginia by 2022. The company is working on offshore wind projects, battery storage projects and hydropower projects to lower emissions.

In addition, NextEra Energy NEE has made plans to add nearly 11,500-18,500 MW of clean energy sources in the production portfolio under the Energy Resources segment within the 2019-2022 time period. Through the Florida Power & Light Company unit, the company aims to add 30 million solar panels in Florida by 2030, under the “30-by-30” plan. All these initiatives will help NextEra Energy to reduce carbon dioxide emission rate by 67% within 2025 from 2005 levels.

Another utility Xcel Energy XEL is aggressively cutting down the usage of coal in electricity generation and replacing the same with renewable sources. The company aims to cut emissions by 80% and 100% within 2030 and 2050, respectively, from 2005 levels.

American Electric Power Company, Inc. AEP is also cutting down the usage of coal in electricity generation, and adding wind, solar, hydro and pumped storage to produce clean electricity. The company aims to cut emissions by 70% and 80% within 2030 and 2050, respectively, from 2000 levels.

EIA Emission Forecasts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (“EIA”) recent release predicted energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to decline 2.5% in 2019 and 1.0% in 2020 against 2.7% increase in 2018. The decline in carbon emissions can be attributed to the efforts of utilities, which are setting targets to further cut emissions over the long term.

The primary reason behind declining carbon emissions from electricity generation is the increasing usage of natural gas, renewable and other clean sources to generate electricity. EIA also forecasts that total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will rise from 34% in 2018 to 37% and 38% in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Per EIA, contribution from renewable sources will be 17% in 2019 and increase to 19% in 2020.

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