ODEC Applying for Federal Renewable Energy Grants

Glen Allen, VA -- Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) announced today that it has applied for $516.8 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Empowering Rural America (New ERA) Program. The funding, if awarded, will be used to accelerate ODEC’s development of renewable and other clean energy resources.

ODEC’s Letter of Interest requests funding to support 31 solar, wind, battery, and other clean energy projects that could provide nearly 800 Megawatts of power generation capacity and storage.

The $9.7 billion New ERA program, created as part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, is a competitive program that offers loans and grants to help rural electric cooperatives pay for clean energy, carbon capture, energy storage and transmission projects.

“Bringing additional renewable resources into ODEC’s power generation portfolio is a priority and we are pleased to have submitted this application to USDA’s New ERA program to assist in that goal. The program presents an excellent opportunity to cost-effectively expand our clean energy lineup and bring even greater value to those we serve,” said John C. Lee, Jr., ODEC’s Interim President and CEO.

Details of individual projects are confidential, but in the aggregate the projects would more than triple ODEC’s renewable energy resource capacity (through its power purchase agreements for currently operating wind and solar projects).

ODEC generates and purchases wholesale power that it provides to 11 retail distribution cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware serving 1.5 million residents. One of the largest not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperatives in the country, ODEC’s current power generation resource mix is diverse, including natural gas, nuclear and coal generation assets it owns, in addition to several power purchase agreements for wind and solar resources.

ODEC announced carbon reduction goals for the cooperative in 2021. The cooperative has a goal to reduce its carbon intensity by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and set a goal to have net zero carbon emissions in 2050 while maintaining a reliable and affordable supply of power for its members and the communities they serve.

ODEC utilized USDA’s Greenhouse Gas Achievable Reduction Tool to estimate the reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the portfolio of projects contained in the application. Assuming successful and timely completion of all projects by 2031, the tool estimated that ODEC’s greenhouse gas emissions will fall by more than 968,000 tons annually, or a 20.4% reduction from ODEC’s 2022 greenhouse gas emissions levels.

“ODEC is well positioned to meet its aggressive 2030 carbon goals and the opportunity to participate in the New ERA program could provide significant assistance in accelerating our clean energy agenda while keeping our energy rates affordable for our members,” Lee said.

USDA has indicated that it will review all Letters of Interest it receives by the September 15 deadline and will inform applicants later this year whether their applications have been accepted. Applicants accepted to the program will then have to provide significantly more detailed information before USDA makes final decisions to approve loans and grants to applicants.

“We have a long road ahead of us with this process,” said Chris Cosby, ODEC’s Senior Vice President of Power Supply. “We are excited to have this LOI submitted and look forward to USDA’s acceptance of it.”

Cosby also noted that none of the projects in ODEC’s application are guaranteed to be developed, citing uncertainties over interconnection costs and timing, supply chain issues, and other factors that will impact each project’s viability in the future.

“We believe we have a diverse and realistic array of projects in our LOI. But none of us can predict the future and there are many factors beyond our control that will impact each of these potential projects,” said Cosby.

The vast majority of the clean energy projects in ODEC’s LOI are in its members’ service territories.

More information about the New ERA program can be found on USDA's website.

Read more in our full Press Release (PDF).