Construction Begins at Enel's Rattlesnake Creek Wind Project to Serve Facebook's New Data Center

LCG, November 16, 2017--Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGPNA), the U.S. renewable energy company of the Enel Group, announced Tuesday that it has started construction of the 320-MW Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Dixon County, Nebraska. Enel estimates its total investment in Rattlesnake Creek to be approximately $430 million.

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Dominion Notifies NRC of Plan to Relicense Nuclear Units at North Anna Power Station

LCG, November 14, 2017--Dominion Energy Virginia, a unit of Dominion Energy, Inc., yesterday notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of its intent to relicense its two-unit North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Virginia for an additional 20-year term. The company informed the NRC that it expects to file a license renewal application in 2020.

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Industry News

Dominion Energy Announces Plans to Pursue New Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Facility Virginia

LCG, September 8, 2017--Dominion Energy Virginia announced yesterday that it will proceed with its plan to study the feasibility of a new pumped storage hydroelectric facility in the coalfield region of Southwest Virginia by conducting in-depth studies of two potential sites: a 4,100-acre site in Tazewell County and an abandoned mine in Wise County. The preliminary estimate for a single facility could be in the range of $2 billion.

Dominion Energy filed a preliminary permit with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Tazewell location on Wednesday and has contracted with Virginia Tech to conduct the study of the former Bullitt Mine near Appalachia, Virginia.

Dominion Energy's vice president-Generation Construction stated, "We are on parallel paths with performing studies on these two sites. The FERC application for the Tazewell site will allow us to proceed with the rigorous environmental, geological, archeological and technical studies, while further assessing the economics of the project. In addition, the detailed study on the mine site allows us to explore the feasibility of abandoned mine cavities for pumped hydroelectric storage. We expect to make a decision on which site to advance by mid-2018."

Conceptually, a pumped storage hydroelectric facility works by storing water in an upper reservoir. When demand for electricity is high and electricity prices rise, water is released to flow down to a lower reservoir water through turbines to produce electricity. When demand for electricity is low and prices are low, electricity is used to reverse the turbines and pump the water back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir, where the water is stored to be used again when needed.

Pumped storage facilities typically act as a utility-scale energy storage system used daily. Water flows down to generate power during the peak demand hours of the day, and the water is pumped back up to the reservoir during the night to store energy for the next day.

Dominion Energy owns about 2,600 acres of the Tazewell site near East River Mountain, which it purchased in 2009 when it was pursuing another electric generation project. Studies are underway by Virginia Tech that are expected to determine if the site is viable to proceed with a FERC license application later in 2018.

With regards to the Bullitt Mine site, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy previously conducted research on the feasibility of using abandoned mines for pumped storage and looked at numerous sites in the coalfield region. The research identified the former Bullitt Mine as one of its top candidates. The mine was closed in 1997 and is currently flooded. A pumped storage facility could conceivably use the mine cavity as a lower reservoir.

Dominion Energy elected to delay filing a preliminary permit application with FERC for the Bullitt Mine site pending the results of an on-going study. If the mine is selected for a pumped storage facility, Dominion Energy would file with FERC next year.

Dominion Energy stated that it may also pursue other potential sites as the process continues.
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