By Helena Tavares Kennedy
Sponsored by NOVEC
Renewable energy is on many minds lately as we try to find ways to rely more on domestic energy resources and have less of an impact on the environment. Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) is aware of the benefits of renewable energy and moving forward in this direction with D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI).
NOVEC and DESRI recently reached an agreement for NOVEC to purchase approximately 300 megawatts (MW) of electrical energy output from solar facilities owned by DESRI. NOVEC selected DESRI from among multiple bidders to provide the cooperative with additional renewable resources.
“This agreement with DESRI is another step toward meeting our customers’ expectations for more renewable energy in NOVEC’s resource mix. Purchasing the output from these new solar facilities will be a valuable addition to our energy supply,” said NOVEC President and CEO Stan Feuerberg.
The agreement between NOVEC and DESRI formalizes the partnership to develop and construct solar-electric generation facilities within the Dominion/PJM footprint. PJM is a regional transmission organization that serves 13 states, including Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
“This addition of solar generated electricity will become NOVEC’s largest source of renewable energy. Additionally, its projected cost is competitive with the marketplace for comparable on-peak energy,” said Gil Jaramillo, Manager, portfolio optimization and business development.
DESRI owns and operates solar facilities across the United States and has additional facilities in development and under consideration. The planned facilities that would sell energy to NOVEC are expected to consist of ground-mounted solar panels that track the sun’s movement throughout the daylight hours to produce an estimated 300 peak MW of electricity. These in-development solar facilities are expected to achieve commercial operation by 2023.
“The solar plants are a welcome addition to NOVEC’s current 60 MW of renewable resources that include hydroelectric, woody biomass, solar, and landfill methane gas recovery,” said John Rainey, Director, origination and plant operations.
“The DESRI team is thrilled to partner with NOVEC to bring low-cost solar power to Virginia residents,” said David Zwillinger, DESRI President. “We are committed to growing the renewable energy economy in the region.”
The solar facilities involved in the agreement are expected to produce enough electricity to power nearly 73,000 homes, or the equivalent of taking nearly 37,000 passenger vehicles off the road. They are also expected to create 250 jobs during construction with an emphasis on hiring from local communities.
“NOVEC’s strategy is to continue improving our environmental footprint through the addition of new renewable energy sources that are not only clean, but also affordable. The partnership with DESRI does just that,” said Feuerberg.
NOVEC, headquartered in Manassas, is a not-for-profit corporation that provides electricity to more than 170,000 metered customers in Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, and Clarke counties, the City of Manassas Park, and the Town of Clifton. It also supplies natural gas and energy products and services to consumers in the Washington, D.C. region. The utility serves more customers than any other Virginia electric co-op and is the 11th largest electric cooperative in the U.S. as measured by retail customers. For more information, visit novec.com.