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Va. bills ease cost recovery for Dominion's massive offshore wind project

Dominion Energy Inc.'s ability to receive regulated cost recovery for its planned 2,640-MW offshore wind project would be cemented by a pair of bills introduced in the Virginia General Assembly.

House Bill 1607 and Senate Bill 998 require the Virginia State Corporation Commission to allow Dominion Energy subsidiary Dominion Energy Virginia to recover all costs of offshore wind projects of "not less than 2,500 [MW] and not more than 3,000 [MW], along with electrical transmission or distribution facilities associated therewith" as long as the utility has begun construction before Jan. 1, 2024, or has a plan for the facilities to be in service by Jan. 1, 2028.

"Any such costs shall be allocated to all customers of the utility in the Commonwealth as a non-bypassable charge, irrespective of the generation supplier of any such customer," the legislation states.

Dominion Energy Virginia in September 2019 announced plans to build the "largest offshore wind project" in the U.S. in three phases about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. If approved, each phase of the Virginia Beach Offshore Wind Project will total 880 MW, with the first phase complete by 2024 and the final phase online in 2026.

Dominion Energy Virginia, known legally as Virginia Electric and Power Co., announced the project days after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order that calls for generating all of the state's electricity from carbon-free resources while ensuring up to 2,500 MW of offshore wind is "fully developed" by 2026.

Building on the governor's initiative, Dominion management assured investors on a November 2019 earnings call that the company will be able to build and receive cost recovery for the $8 billion offshore wind investment.

"We are expecting rider recovery and we'll seek rider approval for all three phases," Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II said on a call.