Industries Energy/Green

Dominion Virginia Power seeks permission for new natural gas-fired power station

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Dominion Virginia Power Monday asked its Virginia regulator to approve construction of a 1,358-megawatt combined cycle, natural gas-fired power station that would serve growing customer demand and replace electricity from aging coal-fired power stations. 

If approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the $1.3 billion power station would be built in Brunswick County on a 214-acre site on U.S. Route 58 east of Lawrenceville. It would begin providing enough electricity for 340,000 homes by spring 2016. The company said the initial increase in the monthly bill of a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would be 83 cents, effective Sept. 1, 2013.

“The Brunswick County Power Station is the clear economic and operational choice to meet our customers’ growing energy needs,” Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “The station is a part of our strategy to meet an anticipated demand from our customers for 5,300 megawatts of new generation over the next 15 years.”

PJM Interconnection, the 13-state regional transmission organization, projects that Dominion’s service area will be one of its fastest-growing regions. To meet the projected growth, Dominion said its plans represent a cost-effective and low-risk approach that emphasizes a diverse fuel mix of nuclear, natural gas, coal, hydro and renewable energy sources and conservation options.

The company also noted in a press release that the Brunswick County Power Station is needed to replace more than 900 megawatts of coal-fired generation from the Chesapeake Energy Center and Yorktown Power Station. These plants will be retired by 2015 because new federal environmental regulations make it uneconomically feasible to continue its operation. More than 19,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation also will be retired from 2011 through 2019 in the PJM area, with most retiring by the end of 2015.

Dominion has received local approvals from Brunswick and has applied to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for an air permit. A September 2012 economic analysis said the project will provide direct and indirect economic benefits to the state during construction of nearly $824 million, with about $451 million of that amount occurring in Brunswick.
Construction also would support about 380 jobs annually in the commonwealth, with more than half of those jobs in Brunswick. Once operating, Dominion said the station will employ 43 people and provide about $51 million in economic benefits statewide annually, with most of the benefits in the county.

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