Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer at Dominion Energy
Thanks, Jim. Good morning everyone. I'll begin my prepared remarks by commenting on our safety performance. As shown on slide 7, I'm very pleased that our results over the first two quarters of this year surpassed even our record-setting results from last year. Our safety performance matters immensely to our more than 17,000 employees to their families and to the communities we serve which is why it matters so much to us and why it's our first core value.
Turning to slide 8. I often describe our pure-play state-regulated strategy as centering around five premier states all of which share the philosophy that a common sense approach to energy policy and regulation puts a priority on safety, reliability, affordability and increasingly sustainability. We were pleased that CNBC's list of America's top states for business ranked Virginia, North Carolina and Utah as one, two and three respectively a podium sweep for three of our five primary jurisdictions with a fourth major service territory Ohio also ranking in the top 10. This is the second consecutive number one ranking for Virginia. Obviously, an assessment of this variety is just one of several possible ways to evaluate state-specific business environments, but we're pleased with the independent confirmation of what we observe every day working on the ground in all of our regions. We've strategically repositioned our business around the state-regulated utility model in order to offer investors increased stability, which is further enhanced by our concentration in these fast-growing constructive and business-friendly states.
Next, I'd like to highlight the outstanding work done across our operating segments by the women and men of Dominion Energy who exemplify our core values of safety, ethics, excellence, embracing change and One Dominion Energy. At gas distribution, our colleagues have collaborated across our national footprint to share best practices resulting in a nearly 20% reduction of third-party excavation damage to our underground infrastructure as compared to 2019. Each instance of damage prevention enhances the safety and reliability of our system while also reducing the emissions profile of our operations. At Dominion Energy South Carolina, our ability to work in close partnership with state and local officials combined with our commitment to meet an aggressive time line for electric and gas service delivery were key to attracting a new $400 million brewery to the state last year. The facility is expected to create 300 local jobs and is one of the largest breweries built in the United States in the last 25 years.
Being on time, however, wasn't good enough for our South Carolina colleagues who safely completed the infrastructure upgrades and installation ahead of an already ambitious schedule. We take pride in examples like this that demonstrate how DESC plays a key role in supporting South Carolina's economic and job growth. And in Virginia, despite several days of near-record peak demand in June our generation colleagues delivered exceptional performance as evidenced by the absence during those periods of any forced outages across our fleet. Our transmission and distribution team members kept the grid operating flawlessly under demanding load conditions, while also keeping pace with robust residential connects and remarkable data center demand growth which continues the trend of robust growth over the last several years with no end in sight.
I'll now turn to updates around the execution of our growth plan. The 2.6 gigawatt Coastal Virginia offshore wind project received its notice of intent or NOI from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in early July consistent with the timeline we had previously communicated. The issuance of an NOI formally commenced the federal permitting review which based on our previously disclosed time line is expected to take about two years. Key schedule milestones are shown on Slide 10. Later this year, we'll file our CPCN and rider applications with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. In June we announced an agreement with Orsted and Eversource under which they will charter our Jones Act-compliant wind turbine installation vessel for the construction of two offshore wind farms in the Northeast. The vessel remains on track for delivery in late 2023 and will be an invaluable resource to DEV as well as to the growing US offshore wind industry.
Turning to Slide 11. The Virginia triannual review is currently in discovery phase and the company is providing timely responses to requests for information all of which generally conform with what we would reasonably expect during a rate proceeding of this size and complexity. As a reminder, the earnings review applies only to the Virginia base portion of our rate base which becomes smaller as a percentage of DEV and Dominion Energy during our forecast period. Virginia rider investments like offshore wind, solar, battery storage, nuclear life extension and electric transmission which are outside the scope of the proceeding represent the vast majority of the growth at DEV.
We've provided a summary of our filing position as well as key milestones in the procedural schedule. A few items to reiterate here. First our filing highlights the compelling value we've provided to customers during the review period of 2017 through 2020. We've delivered safe and reliable service at affordable rates that are well below regional ready and national averages all while taking aggressive steps to accelerate decarbonization by pursuing early retirement of fossil fuel and power generation units. Second, at the direction of the general assembly we've provided over $200 million of customer arrears forgiveness to assist families and businesses in overcoming financial difficulties caused by the pandemic. Third, we've invested over $300 million in CCRO-eligible projects including our offshore wind test project which is the first operational wind turbines built in federal waters in the United States.
Finally, our filing reports a regulatory return that aligns closely to our authorized ROE, plus the 70 basis point color. Inclusive of arrears forgive us this financial result warrants neither refund nor a change to revenues. While offshore wind and the triennial review are understandably areas of focus, we'd be remiss if we didn't also highlight the blocking and tackling, we're doing to advance other very material growth investments and their associated regulatory processes for the benefit of our customers, communities and the environment.
Since our last update, we received our fourth consecutive regulatory approval for investments in utility-owned rider recoverable solar projects. We've now surpassed 1,000 megawatts of Dominion Energy-owned solar generation in service in Virginia and there is a lot more to come. In fact, our pipeline of company-owned solar projects in Virginia under various stages of development currently totals nearly 4,000 megawatts which gives us great confidence in our ability to achieve the solar capacity targets, set forth in Virginia law and which support our long-term growth capital plans.
In the very near-term about 25 days to be specific, we'll make our next and largest today clean energy submission. We expect the filing to include as many as 1,100 megawatts of utility-owned and PPA solar, roughly consistent with the 65-35 split identified in the Virginia Clean Economy Act. It will also include around 100 megawatts of battery storage including, 70 megawatts of utility-owned projects. Taken together, the filing will represent as much as $1.5 billion of utility-owned and rider-eligible investment, further derisking our growth capital guidance provided on our fourth quarter 2020 earnings call.
Next, the State Corporation Commission approved our inaugural renewable portfolio standard development plan and rider filings, this annual accounting is mandated under the VCEA and provide a status update on the company's progress towards meeting both, near-and-long-term requirements under the state's RPS targets. We received commission approval for our Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or REGI rider file. Under state law, Virginia has joined with other REGI states to promote a marketplace for emissions credits with the goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gases overtime. And this approval allows for timely recovery, of our cost of compliance.
Next, we received authorization from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to extend the life of our two nuclear units at the Surry power station for an additional 20 years. These units currently provide around 45% of the state's zero carbon generation and under this authorization will be upgraded to continue providing significant environmental and economic benefits for many years to come. We expect to file for rider cost recovery associated with license renewal capital investment later this year. And last but not least, progress on our grid's transformation plans. Our first phase covering 2019 through 2021 is well underway. And we recently filed our Phase II plan with Virginia regulators, covering the years 2022 and 2023. The second phase includes approximately $669 million in capital investment, which is needed to facilitate and optimize the integration of distributed energy resources, while continuing to address the reality that reliability and security are vital to our company and its customers. We expect the final CPCN order around the end of the year.
Our customers and our policymakers have made it abundantly clear. They want cleaner energy. And they want it delivered safely, reliably and affordably. We're therefore very pleased to be executing on that vision on multiple fronts, while extending the track record of constructive regulatory outcomes to the benefit of all stakeholders.
Turning now to our gas distribution business, we're leading the industry in initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of our essential natural gas distribution services. Our efforts include modifications to our operating and maintenance procedures, systemic pipeline and other aging infrastructure replacement, third-party damage prevention, piloting applications for hydrogen blending, producing and promoting the use of carbon-beneficial renewable natural gas, and offering innovative customer programs. For example, in Utah, we're seeking approval for a program that would enable customers to purchase voluntary carbon offsets. For around $5 per month on a typical residential bill, customers that opt into the program will offset the carbon impact of their gas distribution use. This program, which like our existing green therm program allows customers to make choices about how to manage and lower their individual carbon profile is just one way we're reimagining how gas distribution service intersects with an increasingly sustainable energy future. Along those lines our hydrogen blending pilot in Utah is performing in line with expectations and we're in the planning stages of expanding the pilot to test communities.
We filed for a similar blending pilot in North Carolina and are evaluating appropriate next steps for blending in our Ohio system. And as it relates to our already industry-leading renewable natural gas platform, we're pleased to announce an expansion of our strategic alliance with Vanguard Renewables. As a result, we expect to grow our dairy RNG portfolio from six projects in five states to 22 projects in seven states through the second half of the decade and enhance our development pipeline with specific projects towards our aspirational goal of investing up to $2 billion by 2035. Our current pipeline of projects will result in an estimated annual reduction of 5.5 million metric tons of CO2e, which is the equivalent to removing 1.2 million cars from the road.
Turning now to South Carolina. On July 21st, the South Carolina Public Service Commission with the support of all parties unanimously approved the proposed comprehensive settlement in the pending general electric rate case. We appreciate the collaborative approach among the parties over the last six months, which allowed us to produce this agreement that provides significant customer benefits as shown on slide 14; supports our ability to continue providing safe, reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable energy; and aligns with our existing consolidated financial earnings guidance. Further, the approval allows all parties to turn the page and focus on South Carolina's bright energy future. It's also worth noting that the commission also recently approved our modified IRP, which favors a plan that would result in the retirement of all coal-fired generation in our South Carolina system by the end of the decade. While the IRP is an informational filing and does not provide approval or disapproval for any specific capital project, we look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders including the commission to drive towards an increasingly low carbon future.
Before I summarize these prepared remarks and open the line for your questions, I'd like to recognize three interrelated organizational changes we announced yesterday that will affect our team and our Investor Relations efforts. First, Senior Vice President, Craig Wagstaff who's provided over 10 years of exemplary leadership for our gas utility operations in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming will be retiring early next year. And I can say definitively on behalf of all of our colleagues, he will be sorely missed. Craig joined Questar Corp. in 1984 and we have benefited greatly from his contributions since the Dominion Energy Questar merger in 2016. Best wishes to Craig and his family and his retirement.
We've ask Steven Ridge, our current Vice President of Investor Relations to relocate to Salt Lake City in effective October 1st, assume the role of Vice President and General Manager for our Western natural gas distribution operations. Steven has been a valuable member of our IR efforts over the last nearly four years. And I think it's gotten to know most of you pretty well. We have every confidence in his ability to follow Craig's long-standing example of serving our Utah, Wyoming and Idaho customers and communities well.
And, finally, David McFarland who's been working on our Investor Relations team since October of last year, will assume responsibility for our IR efforts as Steven transitions into his new role later this year. We congratulate David, on this new opportunity. Our investors should expect no change to our aim to provide consistently a high level of responsiveness and accuracy they've grown to expect from our current IR team.
With that let me summarize our remarks on Slide 15. Our safety performance year-to-date is on track to improve upon last year's record-setting achievement. We reported our 22nd consecutive quarterly result as normalized for weather meets or exceeds the midpoint of our guidance range. We affirmed our existing annual and long-term earnings guidance and our dividend growth guidance. We're focused on executing across project construction and achieving regulatory outcomes that serve our customers well and we're aggressively pursuing our vision to become the most sustainable regulated energy company in America.
With that we're ready to take your questions.