Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative members heard from co-op leaders at the NOVEC Annual Meeting on Sept. 13, and they reelected Brent George to a third term as director for District 2.
Wade House, chairman of NOVEC’s board of directors, spoke to the more than 50 members in attendance about changes and successes in 2022 and 2023, including some new faces on the leadership team. NOVEC is continuing to grow its base of talented and dedicated employees to serve its more than 180,000 members.
President and CEO Dave Schleicher presented a financial report for 2022, specifically noting:
- Energy sales increased by 15% compared to 2021.
- Operating revenue surged by 49% for a total of $1.01 billion.
- Based on these sales and revenue figures, NOVEC is the leading distribution cooperative in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
NOVEC’s reliability statistics continue to show 99.99% reliability. “The most important thing we do is keep the lights on,” said Schleicher. But he also explained that customer expectations have changed — they want more self-service options, for instance — and technologies are transforming the industry.
“Electric vehicles and rooftop solar power were not in play 20 years ago,” he said. “2022 was a record year for energy demand, and in fact, we just set a new system peak on Sept. 6.” He pointed to how the co-op is working to anticipate future changes. “What happens when school districts begin using electric buses, charging them between bus runs at peak times, or when fleets of delivery trucks go electric?”
Higher energy sales and peak-demand growth is expected in the NOVEC territory over the next 10 years due to the expansion of data center construction. “Like residential subdivisions and commercial businesses were our growth drivers in the past, data center customers expect and will receive the same great service from NOVEC as all of our customers.”
Northern Virginia currently hosts more than 40 data center buildings in Loudoun, Fairfax, Fauquier and Prince William counties, with a connected load of more than 2,000 megawatts. There are 119 data center buildings in various stages of planning and construction in NOVEC’s service areas, with an estimated installed load of more than 7,700 MW.
NOVEC is continually seeking out viable opportunities to expand its renewable energy portfolio. Schleicher announced negotiations are underway with developers of four utility-scale solar projects, and NOVEC has applied for federal funding to help defray some of the costs. If those projects come to fruition, the Co-op would purchase the energy output from those arrays.
Schleicher also emphasized NOVEC’s commitment to community, citing the dozens of local nonprofit organizations the Co-op contributes to each year. He recognized two NOVEC lineworkers, Blake Sparling and Mauricio Paz, who spent most of October in Guatemala as part of a National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International initiative that brings electricity to rural communities around the world.
Q&A with the Members
After the business meeting was adjourned, Co-op leaders engaged members in a question-and-answer session. Some of the topics included:
- NOVEC’s ongoing effort to install new meters and the Co-op’s successful expansion of the advanced metering infrastructure throughout NOVEC territory.
- The co-op’s new EV rate, introduced at the beginning of 2023.
- Mitigation activities taken by NOVEC to reduce the chance for forest fires in its easement areas.
- The process by which capital credit patronage is allocated to members, making them equity owners in the business.
- The effects of data centers on NOVEC, customers, rates and infrastructure.
–Report by Robin Earl, Senior Communications Specialist, Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative.