Friday, 4 July 2008

Dominion Virginia Power includes Smart Grids in Energy Conservation Plan

- Carbon dioxide, other emissions to be avoided because of lower energy use
- More than $1 billion in customer savings expected over 15 years
- Planned power stations are still needed, but others in future delayed, eliminated

Dominion Virginia Power presented an aggressive energy conservation plan that would produce significant environmental benefits while providing customers with substantial cost savings.

"This plan will provide a jump-start toward meeting the 10 percent conservation goal enacted last year by the Virginia General Assembly and the governor, getting the Commonwealth more than one-third of the way there within five years," said David A. Heacock, president of Dominion Virginia Power. "It will provide significant environmental benefits in a cost-effective manner that translates into very real financial savings to customers."

A key component of the plan is the installation of "smart grid" technologies that will enhance the electric distribution system to meet the increasing needs and expectations of customers in the 21st Century.

The smart grid will allow energy to be delivered more efficiently and will result in significant energy savings by allowing more precise control of the energy flow. Dominion expects to invest about $600 million and replace all of its existing electric meters with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), capable of two-way communications, as well as additional equipment to monitor and control the electric distribution system.

The resulting fuel savings for customers will more than offset the cost of the new equipment. The technology also is expected to lead ultimately to improvements in service reliability and the ability of customers to monitor and control their electricity use.

Over the next 15 years the plan is expected to result in customer savings in excess of $1 billion through lower electricity use, avoiding the need for two future power stations and delaying the need for two others.

However, the demand from Dominion Virginia Power customers for reliable, around-the-clock electricity that can be provided only by power stations still exists and is projected to grow by 4,000 megawatts over the next decade. The company is pursuing a balanced mix of new generating facilities, including wind and other renewables, emissions-free nuclear, advanced-technology coal and natural gas. It will also improve transmission and other infrastructure to ensure continuation of reliable service and maintain the growth of Virginia’s economy.

"This is a significant step toward meeting Virginia’s electricity conservation goal in a way that will deliver real and measurable benefits," Heacock said. "We plan to develop additional initiatives aimed at reaching the full 10 percent goal by the 2022 target in a cost-effective manner."

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