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Dominion (D) to Jointly Build Solar Project on Former Mines

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Dominion Energy (D - Free Report) and The Nature Conservancy announced that they are going to develop one of the first utility-scale solar projects on former surface mines in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia.

This Highland Solar Project will reuse nearly 1,200 acres of the former Red Onion surface mine, and the surrounding properties in Wise and Dickenson Counties. This solar project, once operational, will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of clean energy and provide power to 12,500 homes. Repurposing former surface mines for a solar project is a unique way to utilize the land and at the same time lower emissions in the region.

Dominion is in the process of adding 4,000 MW of solar or wind generation in the state of Virginia. Its long-term objective is to add 24 GW of battery storage, solar, hydro, and wind (offshore as well as onshore) projects by 2036, and increase renewable energy capacity by more than 15% per year, on average, over the next 15 years.

Dominion’s Focus on Clean Energy

Dominion aims to attain net-zero carbon and methane emissions from its electric generation and natural gas infrastructure by 2050 from 2005 levels. The company aims to cut emissions by 70-80% by 2035 from 2005 levels. It also intends to make zero and low-emitting resources accountable for 95% of company-wide electric generation.

Dominion plans to invest $32 billion in the 2021-2025 time period to strengthen its existing infrastructure, out of which a major portion will be invested in zero-carbon generation and energy storage. The company is working on offshore wind projects, battery storage projects and hydropower projects to lower emissions. It also announced plans to develop the 2,640-MW offshore wind project to further expand its renewable footprint in Virginia.

Transition in Energy Space

A paradigm shift is evident in the utility space, with utilities setting up targets on their own to achieve net-zero emissions over the next three decades. Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration report, electricity generating capacity increase in the 2021-2050 time period will essentially come from solar, wind and natural gas.

Utilities are cutting down the usage of coal in electricity generation, and relying more on natural gas and clean alternate sources of energy to produce electricity. The ongoing research & development along with investments in renewables are making utility-scale renewable plants viable compared with conventional sources of energy. Utilities like Duke Energy (DUK - Free Report) , The Southern Company (SO - Free Report) , and Xcel Energy (XEL - Free Report) have decided to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Price Performance

In the past six months, Dominion’s shares have gained 2.5% compared with the industry’s growth of 4.1%.

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Zacks Rank

Dominion currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.