Dominion Energy has broken ground on what is expected to become the largest renewable energy project developed at a major U.S. airport.
The up to 100 megawatt (MW) solar and 50 MW energy storage project at Dulles International Airport outside the nation’s capital in Richmond, Virginia, will provide enough clean energy to power more than 37,000 homes at peak output, the developer said.
Sitting on some 835 acres, the project also includes Dominion developing two 1-MW solar carports to help power Dulles’ facilities and providing electric vehicle charging stations and a new fleet electric transit buses and vehicles, instead of annual lease payments to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).
“This is an exciting moment for the future of clean, reliable energy, not only for Virginia but for the entire nation,” said Dominion Energy CEO Bob Blue. “Thanks to our strong partnership with MWAA, millions of travelers flying in and out of Dulles every year will see this powerful symbol of the clean energy transition.”
The $200 million project will create more than 300 jobs, Dominion said.
The Aug. 22 groundbreaking followed an extensive, multiyear review process by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Virginia State Corporation Commission, and other state and federal agencies. The project was given the green light earlier this year.
Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2023 with completion expected in late 2026.
“This partnership will result in the largest renewable energy project ever developed at a U.S. airport,” MWAA president and CEO Jack Potter said in the release. “It’s just one of many ways the Airports Authority is constantly working to be a good steward of the environment. We look forward to working with Dominion Energy to help provide emission-free electricity to serve the growing energy needs of the Dulles community and the National Capital Region.”
The Dulles project is among Dominion Energy’s efforts to reduce emissions as it works to achieve net-zero emissions goals by 2050. The company, which has solar energy services in five states, seeks to add 16,000 MW of solar capacity by 2035 in Virginia.
Here is a look at other renewable energy news this week.
Battery Maker Northvolt Raises $1.2B in Latest Funding Round
Swedish battery maker Northvolt said on Aug. 22 the company has raised $1.2 billion to finance expansion plans in North America and Europe.
The funding, an extension of a $1.1 billion convertible note signed in July 2022, was led by Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO), BlackRock, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, Northvolt said in a news release. The EU is also among the company’s funding sources.
Northvolt has received significant interest from capital markets, Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson said.
“The commitment to global decarbonization is strong,” Carlsson said, “and these milestones reinforces our position to meet the massive demand for sustainable battery solutions both in Europe and North America.”
Word of the additional funding came alongside news that Northvolt Dwa had assembled its first energy storage system products in Gdańsk, Poland.
Wärtsilä, AGL Complete Australian Battery Storage System
Wärtsilä and partner AGL Energy Ltd. have completed construction of the 250 MW Torrens Island Grid Scale battery energy storage system in South Australia, the technology company said Aug. 22.
The system, which is the country’s second-largest operational battery, provides enough electricity to power about 75,000 homes for one hour, Wärtsilä said.
“This landmark project is helping Australia take a major step towards a 100% renewable grid and its net-zero emissions target,” said Andrew Tang, vice president of energy storage and optimization for Wärtsilä.
Wärtsilä also supplied the 211 MW balancing power plant, the Barker Inlet Power Station, for AGL, on Torrens Island.
New Singapore Commodity Exchange Aims to Launch EV Nickel Contract
A new Singapore-based commodities exchange aims to launch the world’s first futures contract for a type of nickel used in the booming electric vehicles (EV) sector by the end of this year, an executive said Aug. 24.
The Abaxx Commodities Exchange, which is getting its final regulatory approvals in Singapore, plans to launch nickel sulphate futures, the first such contract globally, Dan McElduff, president of strategy and development, told Reuters.
The exchange, owned by Canadian-listed Abaxx Technologies Inc., also plans to launch futures in LNG and carbon.
“It’s unquestionable that this market needs more and better price discovery and the best way to do that is with a physically-settled futures contract,” he said.
“Our focus in starting was to not battle out with big exchange groups in their core products but to focus on emerging markets and we classify nickel sulphate as an emerging market.”
The existing nickel futures contracts on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and the Shanghai Futures Exchange both trade in Class 1 refined nickel.
Nickel sulphate is a form of nickel used in EV batteries, a sector that is growing in importance.
Instead of having a network of warehouses to store and deliver physical metal like the LME, the new Abaxx nickel contract would facilitate delivery from seller to buyer, Abaxx Chief Economist David Greely said.
World Energy GH2 Submits EIS for Wind-to-Hydrogen Project
World Energy GH2 has submitted an environmental impact statement to Canadian regulators for the planned Project Nujio’qonik, it said Aug. 22.
The Newfoundland and Labrador-based renewable energy company aims to produce green hydrogen and ammonia from more than 3 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy.
Plans are to construct the wind-to-green hydrogen project on Newfoundland and Labrador’s west coast with production starting in 2025. The project includes a 1-GW, 164-turbine onshore wind farm on the Port au Port Peninsula and infrastructure to power a 0.5 GW hydrogen/ammonia production facility in the Port of Stephenville.
“Over the past few months, we’ve achieved several key milestones for Project Nujio’qonik,” said World Energy GH2 CEO Sean Leet. These have included acquiring the Port of Stephenville, for the production and shipping of green hydrogen and green ammonia; closing on a $50 million investment with partner SK ecoplant; completing the first phase of a land bidding process. Plus, “we made major strides towards completing our pre-FEED (initial phase of front-end engineering and design) and we have now submitted a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement.”
The company, which worked with partner Qalipu First Nation on the environmental assessment, said the project will offset an estimated 850,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually by displacing the equivalent amount of coal-generated energy.
Japan Eyes Over $14B in Green Transformation Spending
Japan aims to spend over 2 trillion yen (US$14 billion) on green transformation to promote local production of storage batteries, semiconductors and equipment to produce hydrogen, among others, a document released by the government showed Aug. 23.
Japan is pushing to replace fossil fuels in its energy mix to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to reduce dependence from suppliers globally as the nation currently imports nearly everything it needs for power consumption.
Investment strategies for each of the sectors should be ready by the year-end and the spending would begin from the 2024 fiscal year should the plan be approved by the government.
EDPR Readies Solar Hybrid Project for Startup in Poland
EDP Renewables (EDPR) is preparing to put into operation a 45 MW photovoltaic (PV) solar farm in Poland, the company said Aug. 22.
Called Konary, the project will help produce energy for some 20,000 households annually, utilizing the same receiving station used by the EDPR-owned 79.5 MW Pawlowo wind farm, the company said.
“The Konary project is an innovative example in Poland and even in Central and Eastern Europe of the use of hybridization,” EDPRR said, referring to the shared infrastructure.
The project features about 70,000 PV panels located on acreage owned by the Gołańcz and Margonin municipalities in Poland.
“With current energy prices and in the face of the—hopefully temporary—exhaustion of traditional options for connecting new RES [renewable energy source] capacity to the grid, cable-pooling can bring relief to Polish energy consumers,” said Bartosz Fedurek, country manager for EDPR Poland.
Once operational, the solar farm will become Poland’s fourth largest, avoiding emissions of about 840,000 tons of CO2, EDPR said.
Crowley, Morgan Stanley Form JV to Advance US Wind
Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) and Crowley, a maritime, energy and logistics company based in the U.S., have entered a joint venture (JV) agreement to advance offshore wind energy solutions, according to an Aug. 24 press release.
The newly created Crowley Wind Services Holdings LLC will combine the maritime and logistics abilities of Crowley with the financial strength of MSIP, the companies said. Investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners (MSIP), a private infrastructure fund platform within MSIM, will hold a majority stake in the newly created company. Crowley will operate the business.
The focus of the JV will be repurposing and operating port facilities in the U.S. and leasing them to offshore wind developers under long-term contracts. The terminals will support manufacturing, assembly and storage of wind farm components and provide developers with maritime services.
“In our view, the U.S. offshore wind industry is in its early stages with ambitious goals to develop 30 gigawatts of capacity from offshore wind by 2030 and unlock a pathway to 110 gigawatts by 2050,” said Daniel Sailors, managing director of MSIP. “We believe port infrastructure is essential to the build-out and long-term maintenance of offshore wind projects and we are excited to partner with Crowley to provide the foundational infrastructure that will enable the development of this important industry.”
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank acted as financial advisers to MSIP. DNB Markets advised Crowley.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as MSIP’s legal counsel. Vinson & Elkins LLP acted as Crowley’s legal counsel.
- US Gives Green Light to Ørsted, Eversource’s Revolution Wind Project
- Equinor Opens World's Largest Floating Wind Farm in Norway
Hart Energy Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.
2023-12-01 - Here is a look at some of this week’s renewable energy news, including the establishment of a $30 billion climate fund.
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