Energy company Dominion Energy Virginia has secured approval from Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) for the construction of four battery storage pilot projects in the US.

The approval will pave the way for additional energy storage technology, required to support the company’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon and methane emissions by 2050.

The four central Virginia-based projects totalling 16MW will cost approximately $33m to construct and will provide key information on distinct use cases for batteries on the energy grid.

Once operational in the first quarter of next year, the company will evaluate them for a period of five years.

Dominion Energy generation construction vice-president Mark Mitchell said: “Dominion Energy will pilot these 16MW of battery storage to better understand how best to deploy batteries across our system to integrate renewables and provide grid reliability by filling gaps due to the inherent intermittency of solar and wind power.

“These pilot projects will also help us learn how to incorporate this emerging technology into our overall strategy to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions.”

Said to be the largest projects of their kind in Virginia, the utility-scale battery storage pilot projects are enabled by the Grid Transformation & Security Act of 2018 that allows Dominion Energy to invest in battery projects with up to 30MW capacity.

By using lithium-ion batteries, Dominion Energy will better understand how energy storage technology can be integrated into various applications to benefit its customers.

Under the plan, the company will add two battery systems totalling 12MW at the Scott Solar facility site in Powhatan County, a 2MW battery at a substation in Hanover County and another 2MW battery at a substation in New Kent County.

Last October, the Commonwealth of Virginia signed a 420MW renewable energy contract with Dominion Energy for the supply of clean energy from the renewable sources.