Chesapeake Energy Center is located beside the southern branch of the Elizabeth River in the city of Chesapeake, Virginia. The Center has provided reliable, efficient electric power for almost half a century.
Chesapeake's four coal-fired generating units and eight gas turbines can generate 717 megawatts of electricity. The station generates about 7 percent of all the power used by the homes, businesses and industries in the company's 30,000-square mile service area.
The facility was built as the Portsmouth Power Station but its name was changed in late 1983 to reflect more accurately its location. The station's units all burned coal until the late 1960's. Federal requirements and the shrinking price of oil then prompted a change to burn oil in the 1970s.
However, with the soaring price of oil, Chesapeake Units 3 and 4 were re-converted to coal by the early 1980s. The station's two oldest units were re-converted to burn coal later, and modified to provide a greater generating capacity. The two were returned to service in 1987, and they currently have a capacity of 111 megawatts each. The four Chesapeake units were among a dozen oil units converted by the company to burn coal – the largest coal conversion program in the nation.
Like any coal-burning power station, Chesapeake produces airborne particles known as fly ash. After the hot combustion gases containing fly ash leave the station's boilers, they pass through huge electrostatic precipitators. The precipitators function like giant electric air cleaners and remove 99 percent of the ash contained in the gases. The cleansed gases are then vented to the atmosphere through stacks as tall as 200 feet.
The fly ash removed from the gases is loaded on trucks and hauled to a carefully engineered disposal site near the station.
Other technologies reduce other emissions. Units 1, 2, and 4 use the Burner Out Of Service (BOOS) method to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. In BOOS, fuel is pumped into the bottom of the burner and air is pumped above the flame. This causes ignition to occur higher in the fire box, which creates a lower temperature and less NOx...Unit 3 has a Low NOx burner installed to reduce emissions from that boiler.
Net Generating Capacity: 717 megawatts (including gas turbines)
Generating Capacity of Coal-fired Units:
Average Daily Coal Consumption: 4,500 tons