Virginia Power to convert coal-fired stations
Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion,
is planning to convert three Virginia power stations from using
coal to biomass, a renewable energy source. The conversions would
provide environmental and customer benefits, and generate up
to $350 million for their local economies over the next 30 years.
The power stations in Altavista, Hopewell and Southampton County
are identical and went into operation in 1992. If the conversions
are approved by local governments, the Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality and the Virginia State Corporation Commission,
they could begin burning biomass in 2013.
The total economic impact over the 30 year life of the stations
would be more than $350 million, including $30 million in local
taxes, $180 million for the creation of more than 300 hundred
jobs in the forestry and trucking industries and about $120 million
paid to the 90 employees who would work at the stations.
The fuel switch would reduce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide,
mercury and particulate emissions, and all of the stations would
meet stringent new emissions standards established by the Environmental
Dominion Generation CEO David Christian said, “Our proposal to
convert these units from coal to biomass provides customers with
economical electricity, delivers environmental benefits and takes
advantage of a renewable, low-cost fuel source.”
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said, “Conversion of these units
to biomass creates jobs and generates tax revenues in a manner
that will have a positive impact on the environment. The majority
of the biomass product being used – wood slash – is typically
left on the ground after timber or logging operations are complete.
The state is now better utilizing a product that would normally
go to waste. The projects are reflective of the ‘all of the above’
approach we need to take when it comes to energy production in
the Commonwealth. They are essential to expanding our alternative
energy portfolio and closing our import gap, not to mention creating
good jobs here in the Commonwealth.”
Dominion plans to meet the state’s voluntary Renewable Portfolio
Standard, which calls for 15 percent of the company’s generation
to be from renewable resources by 2025. The company successfully
met the 2010 milestone of four percent.
Each of these units can currently produce 63 megawatts of electricity
of peaking power, running only when demand is at its highest.
When converted, they would generate 50 megawatts each, but operate
essentially all of the time. Together, these stations would provide
electricity to about 37,500 homes.
The stations would obtain most of their fuel from the waste wood
left from timbering operations and would comply with a Virginia
law regulating the use of biomass for electric generation. Dominion
will also be adhering to its allocated cap of 1.11 million tons
per year of green wood chips and related tree materials.