Dominion Proposes To Convert Bremo Power Station From Coal To Natural Gas To Improve Virginia Air Quality
* Proposal dependent upon Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center entering service
* Result would be lower air emissions in Virginia
* State Corporation Commission, DEQ approvals would be required
Dominion (NYSE: D) is proposing to convert its Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County from coal to natural gas fuel as part of its plan to build the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County. The net result would be more electricity to serve Virginia’s growing needs while reducing air emissions at the same time.
“The planned Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center is already unique in its ability to meet stringent air-quality standards, help clean-up the Clinch River and provide an economic boost to Southwest Virginia,” said Mark F. McGettrick, president and CEO of Dominion Generation. "This proposal provides further benefits for Virginians by converting two of our oldest coal-fired units to natural gas fuel, thus sharply reducing their emissions.
“This proposal to convert Bremo from coal to natural gas is made possible only by having the new coal-fired generation from Virginia City available to provide affordable, 24-hour electricity for our customers. Converting Bremo without Virginia City is not a realistic option because of the different economics and operating characteristics of coal- and gas-fired generation in serving the energy needs of the Commonwealth.”
Dominion made its proposal in a Feb. 1 letter to David K. Paylor, director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
The letter noted that there would be large net reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide (a source of acid rain) and mercury if the Virginia City station were built and the two coal-fired units at Bremo are converted. Emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and particulates from Bremo also would be reduced.
These reductions would be in addition to Dominion’s efforts already under way in Virginia to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury from existing stations by 75 to 85 percent by 2015.
Bremo is Dominion’s oldest coal-fired power station in Virginia. The station entered service in 1931, and the two units now in use were put into service in 1950 and 1958. The station can generate more than 240 megawatts of electricity.
“Construction of the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center provides an added advantage by being able to capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions when that technology is commercially available,” said Pamela F. Faggert, vice president and Chief Environmental Officer. “Based on research Dominion is supporting at Virginia Tech, it may be possible to store large amounts of CO2 near the Virginia City site in the unmineable coal seams of Southwest Virginia.”
Dominion’s proposal is contingent upon receiving approvals from the Virginia State Corporation Commission and DEQ for the company’s plan to convert the Bremo units. The conversion would occur within two years of the Virginia City station entering service.
The 585-megawatt Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center will be a state-of-the-art facility capable of burning a variety of coals, including waste coal, or “gob.” By using waste coal, the station would help remove a source of pollution to local streams and the Clinch River. It is also designed to use up to 20 percent biomass as fuel. In addition, Dominion has been working with the U.S. Forest Service and the DEQ to ensure that the facility will protect sensitive environmental areas.
Once permits are issued, Dominion plans to start construction on the station and have its electricity serving customers by 2012.
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