Tech companies call for more renewable energy in Virginia utility’s resource plan

first_imgTech companies call for more renewable energy in Virginia utility’s resource plan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):A letter from 10 technology companies targeting Dominion Energy Inc.’s future resources plan may be the first domino to fall in the sector’s push for more renewables to run their energy-hungry data centers.For the first time, cloud computing and internet companies may have the upper hand over utilities when it comes to increasing renewable power generation, Fitch Solutions Macro Research said in a May 13 note. As the world’s biggest consumer of electricity, the technology sector is looking to its sources of energy as a clear-cut way to demonstrate its sustainability initiatives amid pressure from customers, investors and governments.However, tech giants’ efforts to meet their environmental, social and governance goals have come face-to-face with their electricity providers’ energy portfolios, which often times relies on fossil fuels. Fitch Solutions notes that tech companies’ financial clout could push their utilities to start divesting from coal and gas.“Where tech companies are now the dominant customer and have the cash and the longevity to reliably pay up-front for future power suppliers, some power companies will begin to see their future investment strategies being dictated by external influences for the first time,” Fitch Solutions said.These differences could play out in Virginia, where a number of companies have located data centers. On May 1, 2018, Dominion’s local utility Dominion Energy Virginia doing business as Virginia Electric and Power Co. proposed its latest 15-year integrated resource plan to state regulators. Dominion plans to add about 3,670 MW of natural gas capacity and 4,720 MW of solar generation by 2033, but Fitch Solutions said some of the utility’s priorities, such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, which would in part supply gas to the company’s power plants and an expected slow phase-in of the new solar resources do not mesh with tech companies’ sustainability goals.That prompted a slew of tech companies including Apple Inc., Amazon Web Services Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to sign a letter criticizing Dominion’s plan. While gas is technically the least expensive option right now, pairing solar with storage will likely become the more affordable option for power companies, particularly as energy efficiency technology continues to improve, the tech firms said in their May 8 letter.More ($): Fitch Solutions: Tech giants may have power over utilities on energy sourcinglast_img

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