New power plant expected to buoy Brunswick

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Brunswick County ex­­­­­­­pects to get a big economic boost when Dominion Virginia Power starts building a natural-gas power station there next year. Dominion plans to invest more than $1 billion in the proposed power plant. With a generating capacity of more than 1,300 megawatts, the plant would produce enough electricity to power more than 325,000 homes.

“This investment will not only result in much-needed job opportunities but it also will provide an additional $4 million annually in revenues,” says Brunswick County Administrator Charlette T. Woolridge. “That represents about a 45 percent increase in our general property taxes, which will contribute to our ability to provide higher quality services to our citizens and enhance our community’s viability.”

Since 2009 the county has lost one of its major employers, Brunswick Correctional Center, and other businesses because of the economic downturn. The economic impact of the Dominion project is obvious, says Joan Moore, executive director of Brunswick’s Industrial Development Authority. “It positions us for bringing in new industry. We are looking to attract high users of electric power, like data centers.”

Dominion looked at two possible sites — the other was in Chesterfield County —  before making its final decision. “One of the drivers for Brunswick was the fact that we will be retiring several coal-fired units in the Hampton Roads area in 2016,” says Dominion spokesman Dan Genest. “The Brunswick site gives us a better location than Chesterfield to replace that power largely because it has access to a [large transmission] line.”

The new power station will be built on about 50 acres of a 205-acre site on Route 58 east of Lawrenceville. “We have an option to purchase the land from the Brunswick County Industrial Development Authority,” Genest says.

Once the station is built, Dominion will pay $3.5 million to $4 million in local property taxes annually and employ about 30 full-time workers. At least 600 workers would be on site during construction.

Dominion estimates that the economic impact during construction from 2013 to 2016 will be $73 million a year. “Once it’s operational, the economic impact will be $30 million a year,” Genest says.

Dominion is applying to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for an air permit for the new station. Once that has been obtained, Dominion will ask the Virginia State Corporation Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. “We anticipate applying to the SCC late this year,” Genest says. “If we get approval, we will start construction some time in 2013.”

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