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US utility Dominion Energy has filed grid modernisation plans with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

The plans are the utility’s first set under the Grid Transformation & Security Act, which became effective in July, to make the state grid smarter, stronger and greener over the next ten years.

The law paves the way for an increase in renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart grid investments.

The law includes provisions for:

  • $200 million in bill credits to customers and $125 million in annual rate cuts due to tax relief
  • Modernising the energy grid to improve reliability, resiliency and the ability to integrate more renewable energy and emerging technology
  • Future testing of wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach
  • Expansion of the utility’s EnergyShare programme- Dominion will commit $13 million in shareholder funds each year through to 2028 for bill assistance and weatherisation services for seniors, veterans, low-income customers and people with disabilities
  • Directing at least $870 million in energy efficiency programmes over the next decade.

The filed plans include programmes to be deployed over the next three years under the utility’s ten-year initiative.

Dominion wants to add 3,000MW of new solar and wind capacity, enough to power 750,000 homes, by 2022. The utility is ranked sixth in solar adoption across the US.

The energy provider will invest $450 million to improve its services through access to real time grid and customer energy usage data from smart meters, by installing 2.1 million units during the first three years of the programme.

The smart meters and customer information portal will enable self-healing grid capabilities  and the development is expected to speed the restoration process by quickly identifying and isolating outages.

Dominion will also replace overhead with underground lines, improve cyber security and harden substations.