Industries Energy/Green

Dominion wants to build a 1,600-megawatt natural gas plant in Greensville County

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Dominion Virginia Power wants to build a 1,600-megawatt, natural gas-fueled power station in Greensville County. In announcing its plans Thursday, the Richmond-based energy company said the project, which would cost more than $1 billion, would be a combined-cycle facility. Three gas-fired combustion turbines and a steam turbine would run the plant, designed to generate enough power for 400,000 typical homes at peak demand.

"We are proposing to construct the largest and most efficient natural-gas fueled power station in Virginia to bring our customers reliable, low-cost energy," David Christian, CEO for Dominion Generation, said in a statement.

Pending regulatory approval, the station would be operational in 2019. According to Dominion, it would create more than 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and 45 full-time jobs once it becomes operational. In its first year, the station is expected to provide as much as $8 million in property taxes.

"This plant will offer clean, reliable and low-cost energy to Virginia homes and businesses and at the same time, the jobs and tax revenue generated will be a positive boost for Greensville County and all of Southside Virginia,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.

The company plans to submit its application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to the State Corporation Commission (SCC) in July. If approved, construction would begin in mid-2016, subject to SCC and environmental approvals.

"We are very pleased to have been selected for the site of this project and welcome Dominion to our county," said Peggy R. Wiley, chair of the Greensville County Board of Supervisors.

Dominion said it selected the site because of its proximity to transmission and natural gas lines, water supply, railroads and major highways. The 1,143-acre site straddles the Greensville/Brunswick County line with 740 acres in Greensville County.

The station would be served by a Williams' Transco natural gas line that is being extended to the site and the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) that, if approved, would cross the station property when  built. Dominion said the ACP would be critical to providing reliability, infrastructure and fuel supply diversity.

The company has filed the necessary zoning permit applications for the new gas plant with both jurisdictions. The applications also seek to have the Greensville site approved for the construction of a future large-scale solar project.

Dominion is currently building a 1,300-megawatt combined-cycle power station 4.5 miles away in Brunswick County that is about 58 percent complete. It also opened a gas-fired plant in Warren County about four months ago.

The shift to gas comes amid stricter rules by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to operate coal-fired plants. Dominion told the General Assembly during its winter session that the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan could force the closing of some of its coal-fired plants. To run the new natural gas plants, Dominion and other utilities want to tap the Marcellus shale fields in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.   That’s why they have proposed the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which has drawn supporters and fierce opposition, especially from property owners in Nelson and Augusta counties.

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