Protecting Our Planet
We're closing coal ash ponds, reducing the amount of water we use, and committing to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The beautiful James River in Richmond, Virginia, serves as the backdrop for our headquarters. We're two hours from the beach and an hour from the mountains. We love the great outdoors as much as you do. That's why we go to such great lengths to protect it.
From lowering greenhouse gas emissions to preserving wildlife habitats, we work hard to protect our natural resources.
We can't make energy without water. But we can reduce the amount of water we use and try to return that water to its original source.
We're also reducing water use by shifting power generation from conventional to renewable sources that don't require water for cooling. And we're using low-water technologies like air-cooled condensers when we have to rely on fossil fuels.
As we build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, we're going above and beyond regulatory requirements to protect waterways along the route, including:
In 2018, we installed a water treatment system that will make 21 million gallons of water reusable over the next five years at the Canyon Creek Unit in Utah.
Coal Ash Pond Closures
As we increase the clean energy in our mix, we burn less coal. Today, only 13% of our electricity comes from coal and as we use more solar energy backed by natural gas and nuclear power.
In the meantime, we're permanently closing old coal ash ponds and landfills that store the byproduct of coal burning power production. We plan to close 11 coal ash ponds by the end of 2019.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction
We're doing our part to meet the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. Guided by the principles of We Are Still In, a national coalition of government and business leaders who support the agreement despite the official U.S. withdrawal, we continue to work to meet its terms.
Over the last two decades we’ve dramatically lowered emissions across our electric and natural gas infrastructure fleets, and we’ve vastly expanded renewable energy across the country. Over the next two decades, our goal is to go even further. We are committed to reducing methane emissions from our natural gas infrastructure 80 percent by 2050.
We're also upgrading pipelines with high leak rates and teaching customers about how they can reduce their own carbon footprint.
The Green Fleet
Alternative fuels power more than one in three of the vehicles in our on-road fleet – about 7,000 cars and trucks. Our green fleet includes electric, natural gas and biodiesel vehicles that are helping us to:
Habitat and Wildlife Protection
Three-fourths of the world's flowering plants and 35% of the world's food crops depend on insect pollinators to reproduce, but habitat loss has contributed to a decline in the population of butterflies, bees and birds. Our Wings at Work program combats this problem by creating and fostering pollinator habitats. Here's what we've done recently:
- Converted 43,000 acres of open space to pollinator habitat
- Modified our mowing practices to encourage growth of native plants
- Helped landowners along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline create pollinator sanctuaries
- Awarded $50,000 in grants to seven pollinator projects through the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation
It's hard to believe that the nesting activities of ospreys can disrupt power, but it's true. So as part of our avian protection program, we built and installed a dozen large, strong, and durable aluminum alloy nesting platforms located on transmission towers across the Currituck Sound.
“The nesting platforms are really about safety and reliable service: Safety for the osprey because if they build on our energized transmission towers, they run the risk of electrocution; and safety and reliability for our customers by preventing massive power outages on the Outer Banks that could occur if nesting materials contact our lines.”
Electric Transmission Reliability
Fish & Oysters
To create new fish habitats, we've recycled concrete to expand two artificial reefs. In 2017, we enhanced four acres of natural oyster bars in the Chesapeake Bay. We also worked with local groups to protect freshwater marshes by planting 6,000 plants to reestablish beach grasses.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)
We have adjusted the route of the 600-mile ACP more than 300 times, wherever possible avoiding wetlands, public drinking water sources, wildlife habitats, private wells, natural springs, and sensitive features such as sinkholes and sinking rivers.
Recycled Waste, 2017
We are finding ways to reuse and recycle waste, from coal ash and oil, paper and IT equipment. When we started construction of our new corporate headquarters, 600 Canal Place, we even recycled more than 50% of the demolition material from the old on-site building.
We can now use unmanned serial vehicles or drones to perform inspections on electric transmission lines and structures. Drone inspections help us reduce our carbon footprint, improve safety, and save money and time, which is especially important when we're assessing storm damage.
Our annual Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report describes how we serve customers and communities, environmental stewardship, our culture, and our business for the future.
From installing energy-efficient light bulbs to purchasing an electric car, there are many ways to protect the environment.