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05.08.2020 Legal News

Virginia State Corporation Commission Authorizes Pre-Registrations for Third Party Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Pilot Program Capacity

On May 7, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (the “Commission”) issued an order (the “Order”) authorizing pre-registrations for a portion of the increased capacity made available pursuant to recent amendments to the third party power purchase agreement (“PPA”) pilot program[1] (the “Pilot Program”).  The Pilot Program was amended pursuant to the Virginia Clean Economy Act (“VCEA”), which was signed into law on April 11, 2020 and will become effective on July 1, 2020.  The Order will allow pre-registration of notices of intent filed by owners or operators of solar or wind electric generating facilities intending to enter into third party PPAs before July 1, 2020, subject to certain limitations described in the Order.


Under certain limitations, the Pilot Program generally enables third parties to enter into PPAs with customers of Virginia Electric and Power Company (“Dominion”) and Appalachian Power Company (“APCo”) to sell to such customers electricity generated by certain solar and wind powered generation facilities.  Prior to the VCEA, the initial capacities under the Pilot Program were (i) 50 MWs for Dominion’s territory and (ii) 7 MW for APCo’s territory.  Under the VCEA, the Pilot Program was amended to, among other things, increase the aggregate capacity available to the following capacity levels:

  • In Dominion’s service territory:
    • 500 MWs for Virginia jurisdictional customers; and
    • 500 MWs for Virginia non-jurisdictional customers.
  • In APCo’s service territory, 40 MWs.

Such increased capacities will become available on July 1, 2020, when the VCEA becomes effective. 

Pursuant to the “Guidelines Regarding Notices Information For a Third Party Renewable Power Purchase Agreement” established by the Commission on November 14, 2013, as amended on June 29, 2017 (the “Guidelines”), any owner or operator of a solar or wind electric generation facility who intends to enter into a third party PPA under the Pilot Program must provide written notice (a “Notice of Intent”) to the Commission and to Dominion or APCo, as applicable, of the party’s intent to enter into such agreement not less than 30 days before the effective date of such agreement.  In January 2020, the Pilot Program capacity available in Dominion’s service territory became fully subscribed, and Commission staff stopped accepting Notices of Intent for PPAs in such territory.

Commission Order

Due to inquiries received by Commission staff from parties seeking to submit Notices of Intent to enter into PPAs in advance of July 1, 2020, by its Order, the Commission authorized Commission staff to accept for pre-registration prior to July 1, 2020:

  • in Dominion’s service territory, Notices of Intent for up to a cumulative total of 125 MW for jurisdictional customers, and 125 MW for non-jurisdictional customers, with a 3 MW limit per registrant (including any affiliated entities or subsidiaries thereof); and
  • in APCo’s service territory, Notices of Intent for up to a cumulative total of 10 MW, with a 3 MW limit per registrant (including any affiliated entities or subsidiaries thereof). 

Pre-registered Notices of Intent received by the Commission prior to July 1, 2020 will become effective on and after July 1, 2020.  The Order also notes that the Guidelines will be updated, effective July 1, 2020, to reflect the VCEA modifications to the Pilot Program.  The Order is effective on May 14, 2020.

For a copy of the Order, please click here.  Should you have any questions regarding the Order or the Pilot Program, please contact Brad Nowak, co-chair of Williams Mullen’s Solar Energy team.

[1] Chapter 385 and 382 of the Acts of Assembly of 2013, as amended by Chapter 803 of the Acts of Assembly of 2017.