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07.02.2020 Legal News

Virginia SCC establishes Energy Storage Regulatory Proceeding pursuant to the Virginia Clean Economy Act

On June 29, 2020, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (the “Commission”) issued an Order initiating a proceeding to establish rules and regulations related to the deployment of energy storage (the “Order”).  

As background, the Virginia Clean Economy Act (the “VCEA”), enacted by the General Assembly in 2020, requires Virginia Electric and Power Company (“Dominion”) and Appalachian Power Company (“APCo”) to petition the Commission for approval to construct or acquire 2,700 MWs and 400 MWs, respectively, of new utility-owned energy storage resources by 2035.  Pursuant to Virginia Code § 56-585.5 E 5, “[b]y January 1, 2021, the Commission shall adopt regulations to achieve the deployment of energy storage for the Commonwealth required in subdivisions 1 and 2, including regulations that set interim targets and update existing utility planning and procurement rules.  The regulations shall include programs and mechanisms to deploy energy storage, including competitive solicitations, behind-the-meter incentives, non-wires alternatives programs, and peak demand reduction programs.”

By its Order, the Commission directed APCo and Dominion to submit comments within 30 days of the Order, and is permitting other interested parties to submit comments regarding certain issues identified in the Order.  In particular, the Commission seeks comments concerning the following questions (among several others identified in the Order):   

  • What interim targets should be established for meeting APCo and Dominion’s energy storage targets?
  • What competitive solicitation-related programs and mechanisms to deploy energy storage should be included in the required regulations?
  • What behind-the-meter incentives to deploy energy storage should be included in the required regulations?
  • What updates to existing utility procurement rules should be adopted to facilitate the achievement of the energy storage targets?
  • Should the regulations mandate or limit the deployment of any particular type of energy storage resource or facility?
  • Should the required regulations apply to non-utility energy storage?  For example, should the regulations include a mechanism by which the Commission can issue permits for non-utility-owned storage?
  • Code § 56-585.5 E refers to “energy storage,” “energy storage resources,” “energy storage facilities,” “energy storage project,” and “energy storage capacity.”  The statute provides no definition of any of these terms.  Should the regulations include a definition for each term?  Does each included term require its own set of regulations?
  • What additional provisions should be included in the required regulations?

In addition, commenters may also propose specific regulations.

The proceeding is docketed as Case No. PUR-2020-00120.  Comments to the Commission are due by July 29, 2020.  

For more information, please contact Brad Nowak, co-Chair of Williams Mullen’s Solar and Renewable Energy team.