Diversifying our energy portfolio enables us to provide our customers with cleaner options, more choices, and lower bills, while protecting the power supply from potential disruption. Operating a diverse array of generation sources helps maintain reliability by avoiding over-reliance on any given source of power. Doing so also helps maintain affordability by insulating our customers and the company against price shocks for a particular fuel source or generation component.
Change in Generation Mix Over Time
Our changing fuel portfolio has helped drive our emissions reductions to date. In 2005, natural gas generation plants made up only 4% of the power we generated, and coal made up nearly half of our energy generation portfolio. Over the past 16 years, those ratios have shifted. In 2021, coal as a fuel source made up only 12% of our electric generation, and natural gas rose to 40%. In addition, our renewable portfolio continues to grow. These shifts in fuel help us deliver cleaner energy, while maintaining the reliability that is essential to our customers.
2005 pie chart reads: 47% Coal, 44% Nuclear, 4% Natural Gas, 4% Petroleum, 1% Total Renewable Energy Sources. 2021 pie chart reads: 41% Nuclear, 40% Natural Gas, 12% Coal, 7% Total Renewable Energy Sources, 0% Petroleum.
Data reflects post-divestments and equity ownership of assets, consistent with emissions reporting that aligns with the GHG Protocol. Visit our “Environmental Metrics” for more information.
As part of our commitment to a sustainable energy future and a cleaner environment for our customers and the communities we serve, the company is studying the eventual retirement of all its remaining coal units in South Carolina. In consultation with stakeholders, Dominion Energy will review a broad range of retirement and replacement options to select a path forward for regulatory approval. The coal retirement study will help determine the best option to end reliance on coal as a fuel source in South Carolina as early as possible while maintaining safe, reliable and affordable service for customers.
Our customers depend on the electricity and natural gas we provide. If service is interrupted, people suffer. As we move forward with the clean-energy transition, we continue to prioritize reliability, resiliency, and affordability. We work hard to make sure our customers get the service they deserve.
In 2021, customers in our electric service areas in Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina had their power on 99.9% of the time, excluding major storms. Dominion Energy South Carolina customers went without power for less than 75 minutes — 13 fewer minutes than the year before. Our Virginia and North Carolina customers went without power for 132 minutes — eight minutes less than in 2020 and a 17-minute improvement over 2019.
The Storm Chasers
On January 3, 2022, severe winter weather and storms struck South Carolina and central Virginia. In Virginia, the heavy snow and strong winds knocked down trees, tree limbs, and power lines at approximately 3,000 locations. Roughly 400,000 Dominion Energy Virginia customers lost power in what would prove to be the fourth-worst damaging winter storm in the company’s history. The storm also stranded thousands of motorists on a 50-mile stretch of I-95.
Our customers depend on us to provide reliable service, even in the wake of winter storms. Despite hazardous conditions and sometimes impassable roads, nearly 4,800 Dominion Energy crews, support staff, and contractors — along with 900 mutual-aid workers from nine states — swung into action and began making repairs. In hard-to-reach areas, teams used drones and helicopters to expedite restoration.
In South Carolina, damage from strong winds, downed trees, and heavy rains affected service for approximately 60,000 customers. Crews replaced broken poles and downed lines throughout the day, and power was restored to the majority of South Carolina customers within 24 hours.
By January 5, crews had restored service to nearly 400,000 customers in Virginia and South Carolina and continued to work around the clock until power was restored to all. The relentless dedication of our crews and support staff to safely restoring power following major events backs up our promise to be there when our customers need us the most.
Investing in Infrastructure
We are expanding our generation portfolio and upgrading the electric grid to better meet the next-generation energy needs of the communities we serve.
Through 2035, we see potential for up to $73 billion in climate-focused investments (including up to $32 billion through 2026). To our knowledge, this represents the largest regulated decarbonization investment opportunity for any U.S. public utility company.
These investments will focus on:
Dominion Energy had approximately 2.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar generating capacity in service across the United States as of early 2022. In August 2021, Dominion Energy South Carolina filed an integrated resource plan update that included a “preferred” plan with additional solar over the next five years. The following month, we proposed expanding our portfolio even further when we submitted for Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approval the largest group of new solar and energy storage projects in state history – over 1,000 megawatts, enough to power more than 250,000 homes. The Commonwealth approved that clean-energy filing in March 2022. Of the up to $73 billion in potential climate-focused investments through 2035, we anticipate up to $21 billion could be devoted to solar.
From Coal Mine to Sunshine
In September 2021, Dominion Energy announced a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to develop a utility-scale solar project that will repurpose roughly 1,200 acres of a former coal mine and surrounding properties in Virginia’s Wise and Dickenson Counties.
The Highlands Solar project will contribute to the company’s net-zero goals and the aims of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, including the repurposing of formerly used land for solar development. In addition, the project will promote environmental stewardship. In the words of The Nature Conservancy’s Brad Kreps, by directing development towards formerly mined areas, the Highlands Solar project “will help us conserve the region's intact forests for wood products, carbon storage, wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation, and tourism. By collaborating with Dominion Energy and other companies on these initial projects, we hope to develop a model that can be replicated in other coal mining regions across the U.S."
Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) commercial project constitutes the largest offshore wind farm under development in North America. With 176 turbines collectively capable of generating 2.6 GW at peak output, CVOW will be able to power up to 660,000 homes — and avoid up to 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. The project, expected to reach completion in 2026, will also be a significant economic driver for the Hampton Roads region.
In 2021, our company reached agreement on several major contracts for CVOW. And while it represents our first full-scale offshore wind project, we project investments of up to $21 billion for offshore wind through 2035.
In addition, the company is leading a consortium to build the Charybdis, a turbine installation vessel that will serve offshore wind projects along the East Coast, including CVOW. The vessel will operate as part of Dominion Energy's Contracted Assets segment and be homeported in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
Dominion Energy’s nuclear fleet constitutes the largest source of carbon-free energy in our generating portfolio. This fleet is essential to our net zero goal. Our nuclear power stations provide over 40% of our total electricity generation production (in MWh). The company’s four nuclear units at North Anna and Surry have been — and remain — mainstays of the Dominion Energy Virginia (DEV) generation fleet. They currently supply roughly one-third of DEV’s customers’ energy needs, and approximately nine-tenths of Dominion Energy Virginia’s carbon-free generation output. In 2021, Surry and North Anna’s operations avoided roughly 14 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions. In Connecticut, Millstone Power Station produces more than half of the state’s annual electricity consumption and more than 90% of the state’s carbon-free power. In South Carolina, V.C. Summer produces enough carbon-free electricity to power 225,000 homes.
As part of Dominion Energy’s focus on reliability and our commitment to net zero, the company is working to extend the operation of our nuclear fleet. In May 2021, we received approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the license of Surry Power Station — a two-reactor facility in southeastern Virginia — for an additional 20 years. We are pursuing similar approval for the renewal of our license at North Anna, also in Virginia. We anticipate investing up to $4 billion to extend the lives of these Virginia facilities through 2035.
The company is also exploring advanced nuclear technologies like small modular reactors (SMRs) as an additional resource to provide our customers with reliable and affordable clean energy. Given their dispatchable capabilities, SMRs could complement renewable generation, providing power when weather idles solar or wind generation.
SMRs can be partially constructed in a factory and delivered to the generation site, reducing construction timelines. Their small size and their modular constructability reduce the investment risk associated with traditional nuclear power, and they can be located on brownfields, such as retired fossil-fuel plants or other industrial areas.
Several reactor vendors have SMR designs under review with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Dominion Energy is reviewing those designs, with an eye towards creating options that are safe, cost-effective, reliable, and commercially available for an in-service date as early as the early 2030s.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified the transportation sector as the largest contributor of greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S. We are committed to reducing our own transportation carbon footprint and helping our customers do so as well. To that end, we have launched initiatives aimed at helping electrify transportation. Those include:
- Partnering with 15 school districts to enable the deployment of 50 electric school buses and associated chargers in Virginia through December 31, 2021.
- Continued implementation of our Smart Charging Infrastructure Pilot program, which provides rebates for smart electric vehicle charging stations and installation. In 2021, we approved $966,000 for 58 public fast-charging, multi-family, and workplace chargers.
- The creation, in conjunction with five other major utilities, of the Electric Highway Coalition, with the aim of enabling seamless travel for electric-vehicle drivers by developing a network of charging stations connecting major highway systems from the Atlantic Coast, through the Midwest and South, and into the Gulf and Central Plains regions.
Energy storage is a vitally important piece in our clean-energy transition. Our company currently operates the nation’s largest “battery,” a 3,003-MW pumped hydro storage facility in Bath County, Virginia, in addition to our 576-megawatt Fairfield pumped-storage facility in Jenkinsville, South Carolina. In late 2021 and early 2022, we completed construction of our first 16 MWs of battery storage pilots in Virginia and we are in the process of construction planning for an additional 70 MWs of new battery storage projects in the state.
Additionally, our company is considering alternative battery technologies beyond lithium-ion batteries that could be utilized for future grid requirements, including long duration storage technologies (which can provide battery storage durations of eight or more hours, compared to two to four hours for modern lithium-ion batteries), in support of the energy storage requirements of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA). Through 2035, Dominion Energy sees potential to invest up to $4 billion in energy storage projects in support of the VCEA.
The clean-energy transition is imposing new demands on the systems that transmit and distribute electricity. Our generation portfolio has grown to include roughly 100 renewable generation sites as of 2021, and we expect to have up to 400 by the end of the decade. In addition, by early 2022, we had more than 30,000 net-metering customers in Virginia and the Carolinas with an aggregate capacity of 184 MW — a 54% and 42% increase, respectively, from the previous year — which creates bidirectional flows of electricity the system was not designed for. Such changes greatly increase the complexity of grid management and require corresponding upgrades to the grid to ensure continued safe and reliable operation.
Dominion Energy Virginia’s Grid Transformation Plan (GT Plan) is a comprehensive, 10-year program to make prudent investments on the electric grid to meet the future needs outlined in the VCEA, while improving both grid resilience and the customer experience. In 2020, the Virginia SCC approved multiple foundational elements of the GT Plan. One of the elements of Phase I, a hosting capacity tool, has been operational since early 2021. The tool enables customers to see how much solar can be connected at different locations on the grid while limiting the potential for operational issues, thereby allowing them to assess different sites for the most economical and reliable interconnect.
In 2021, we filed Phase II with the SCC, which approved the filing in January 2022. The ruling authorized more than $650 million of investments in 2022 and 2023 that will facilitate and optimize the integration of distributed energy resources such as small-scale solar, energy storage, and electric vehicles by deploying smart meters and intelligent-grid devices that will provide visibility into grid conditions.
Dominion Energy South Carolina has embarked on a multi-year rollout of advanced metering infrastructure, which will provide greater visibility into customer load patterns, enabling greater refinement of decisions we make about the grid.
In 2021, we invested roughly $1.2 billion in electric transmission infrastructure in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina — adding or rebuilding 279 miles of transmission lines and 15 substations, and completing more than 340 substation-related projects.
Through 2035, the company sees potential to invest as much as $15 billion to transform the electric grid.
Our Strategic Underground Program in Virginia places underground those tap lines (overhead wires in neighborhoods) that are most vulnerable to outages. Protecting these lines from the risk of overhead damage reduces outages in those communities during heavy storms. The program benefits all customers, not just those closest to tap lines, because reducing outages in one area frees up repair crews to restore service elsewhere. In furtherance of energy equity, we monitor the program for unintentional bias or disparate impact during various stages of the process (for example, during evaluation of project locations and planning), and metrics for both income and ethnicity show no pattern of disparate treatment in lines selected for undergrounding.
In 2021, we converted 888 tap lines (making up a total of 295 miles) to underground. From the program’s inception through roughly the first quarter of 2022, we have converted 5,377 tap lines, spanning 1,865 miles.
Storm Preparation & Training
Dominion Energy places heavy emphasis on storm preparation and training. Crews work throughout the year to safeguard our lines from hazardous trees and other forms of vegetation before storms hit. A comprehensive vegetation management program is key to reducing damage and to keeping the lights on for our electric customers. We also train and prepare for major weather events year-round. When a major storm approaches, we stage crews and equipment in the field so they can begin work as quickly as possible. When severe weather hits, we follow careful and detailed emergency restoration plans.
This focus on reliability under even the most challenging circumstances routinely receives recognition from industry peers (see the “Awards” section of this report) and from our customers.
Deploying improved technology and hardening infrastructure against increasingly severe weather events increases reliability and system resiliency. As an example, in January 2022, a winter storm struck portions of Dominion Energy Virginia’s service territory — leading to broken poles and crossarms, downed power lines, and power outages. Significantly, those portions of our system that had been upgraded through our “main feeder” hardening program — part of our GT Plan — suffered far less damage and fewer outages. Poles that had been strengthened incurred damage to wires and crossarms, but did not break, and did not need replacement — a time-consuming process that delays bringing customers back online. Restoring power in the hardened areas required fewer resources and was completed much more quickly. By reducing damage to our “main feeder” facilities, we can deploy line crews to other damaged areas that much more quickly.