The Port of Virginia expects to meet all of its operational electricity needs from clean-energy resources by 2024, moving it forward with its goal of becoming completely carbon-neutral by 2040.
“This decision helps reduce our contribution to global climate change, protects our ocean and marine resources and makes us a better neighbour, six years ahead of schedule,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA).
The port is already sourcing some electricity for its on-terminal cargo operations from renewable sources, and a power purchase agreement approved May 9 by the VPA board of commissioners expands the port’s access to clean energy. The agreement will see the Virginia Department of Energy allocate an additional 10% of the energy from 345 megawatts of solar projects being completed by Dominion Energy, along with the port’s proportionate share of the original contract.
This allocation, along with other solar, nuclear and wind resources provided by Dominion Energy, will support the port’s current load of 130,000 megawatt-hours of electricity each year, on average, and allow the port to maintain 100% clean energy sourcing as its load grows. As the port’s volumes increase, and it continues to transition from fossil fuels to new, cleaner technologies, the sources of available clean electricity will expand, meaning more clean energy, such as offshore wind and additional solar projects, will be fed into the grid and allocated to the port.
The port is already using electric equipment in its cargo operation and that trend will continue as part of the larger effort to reach carbon neutrality by 2040. The port’s original goal for sourcing all of its electricity from clean sources was 2032.
“We are ahead of schedule on a couple of fronts. Almost five years ago, we began to electrify our operation, audit carbon emissions, replace aging equipment with greener machines and make greater use of technology,” Edwards said. “As a result, more than one-third of the equipment we use on terminal today is electric and our use of technology is driving efficiency. This is a start that we’re proud of, but we know we can do better, and this announcement is an important step forward.”