Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center

Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center - click to enlarge. 

The Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center entered commercial operations on July 10, 2012. The 600-megawatt station, which produces enough electricity to power about 150,000 homes, is one of the cleanest coal-fired power stations in the country. The circulating fluidized bed unit uses coal and up to 20 percent biomass (up to 537,000 tons/year) for its fuel, providing 117 megawatts. (View our fact sheet.)

The station will generate about $6 million a year in annual property tax payments to Wise County and St. Paul, and will generate $258 million annually for the local economy.

Virginia City is part of Dominion Virginia Power’s response to meeting a projected growth in demand for electricity of 4,000 megawatts from its customers by 2022, or enough electricity to power one million homes. (> View our news release.)

The power station was dedicated on Sept. 27, 2012 with remarks by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell II before 300 invited guests. “The station’s state-of-art environmental controls prove that coal can be burned cleanly and will remain an important part of the commonwealth’s energy picture for decades to come,” McDonnell said. (> View our news release.)

In Dec. 2012, the station was recognized as the best coal-fired project of the year at the annual POWER-GEN International conference and exhibition in Orlando, Fla., sponsored by Power Engineering magazine.

Project Details

Construction Updates

At the peak of construction, there were nearly 2,400 workers on site.  The facility contains enough concrete to fill a football field 35 feet high, enough structural steel to equal the weight of 9,646 automobiles, plus 45 miles of piping and 639 miles of electrical wiring.

Update for July 2012 — Dominion Virginia Power Begins Commercial Operations At Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center

Dominion Virginia Power placed the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Southwest Virginia into commercial operation on July 10, 2012, on budget and on schedule following four years of construction.  View our news release for details.

Update for June 2012 — Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center Now 98 Percent Complete

Dominion’s $1.8 billion Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center project at St. Paul is 98 percent complete with all major construction work completed and only some minor finishing touches such as installation of outdoor lighting, topcoat paving, painting and cleanup yet to be done. The project is in the testing and fine-tuning stage and is expected to be in commercial operation this summer. The 600-megawatt power station generated electricity using coal for the first time and was synchronized to the PJM Interconnection grid on March 7. 

The project is on budget and on schedule.

As of last week, an average of 534 construction workers were still at the site, down from a peak of more than 2,300 workers daily in late 2010 and early 2011. The number of construction workers on site should drop to around 200 in July.

The formation of the station’s 84-member operations team is nearly complete with roughly 40 percent of those workers coming from the far Southwest Virginia area. Roughly another 25 people are employed by a Dominion contractor and are involved in hauling coal ash and other combustion byproducts from the station to the adjacent state-of-the art Curley Hollow Solid Waste Management Facility.

» View construction updates for 2008 through 2011

Station Aerial Photos

Click to enlarge.VCHEC aerial view, October 2012 (click to enlarge)

Click to enlarge.VCHEC aerial view, October 2012 (click to enlarge)

Wood-Tipper Photo

Click to enlarge.Wood-tipper delivering waste wood (biomass) to VCHEC.

Project Resources
CFB Technology

Advanced circulating fluidized bed technology is proven clean-coal technology that also enables the using of run-of-mine coal, waste coal and renewable energy sources, such as wood waste. CFB technology combined with modern post-combustion controls has low emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and mercury.

This technology is compatible with the need to be able to use a wide variety of fuels available in the region and compatible with the requirement to construct and operate a facility in an environmentally responsible manner that minimizes overall impact to air, water and land resources.

Site Selection

A Virginia City site near St. Paul, Va. (a reclaimed surface coal mine) was selected for the project. The Virginia City site met the major criteria for the project to proceed, including an adequate fuel and water supply, electrical transmission requirements, construction logistics and minimal environmental impact.

Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract

On February 23, 2007, The Shaw Group Inc. was awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract by Dominion.

The preliminary scope of the agreement included a development phase to perform engineering, finalize major equipment selections and complete final cost estimates. Following completion of the development phase, Shaw continued with engineering, procurement and construction activities.

Local Benefits

Employment — The station provided nearly 2,400 jobs during construction and has a permanent operating staff of more than 125 people.  It will support an additional 350 mining and trucking jobs.

Tax Revenues and Benefits — A Virginia Tech economic impact study concluded that the station will generate about $440 million a year in economic benefits for Wise County. The station, upon completion, will provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity for Virginia families and businesses.

Fan Care — Dominion Virginia Power has expanded Fan Care to aid elderly in Southwest Virginia.

Groundbreaking Ceremony - August 2008

More than 300 state local officials and supporters joined Dominion executives on August 14, 2008, for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County.

Speaking from beneath a tent erected on the site of what eventually will be the 600-megawatt station's power block, Tom Farrell, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told the audience:

"The Commonwealth of Virginia needs this station. Without the Virginia City facility and others like it, our state would become increasingly dependent on high-priced electricity produced elsewhere — and risk losing the economic strength that led to name Virginia the best state in the nation in which to do business for the third year in a row."

"Wherever Dominion does business, we make a concerted effort to be a good corporate citizen and neighbor. Giving back to the community is an integral part of our heritage and corporate culture. In keeping with these values, Dominion would like to donate $25,000 to Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc... Our gift will go to Mountain Empire's emergency fuel fund, which helps the region's elderly residents pay their heating and cooling bills."

Joining Farrell on the speakers' platform were Virginia Lt. Governor William T. Bolling, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Patrick O. Gottschalk, State Senator William C. Wampler, State Senator Phillip P. Puckett and Delegate Clarence "Bud" Phillips.

Also Joining Farrell were Delegate Dan Bowling, Chairman Robert R. Adkins, Wise County Board of Supervisors, Mark F. McGettrick, President and CEO, Dominion Generation, James K. Martin, Senior Vice President, Dominion Business Development and Generation Construction, Duane Akridge, President of Wise County Chamber of Commerce, Joyce Payne, Executive Director of the Wise County Chamber of Commerce and Jonathan Belcher, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

Photos from the Event


View our print ads (below) to learn more about our station. (Select either ad to view a larger version.) Also listen to our radio ad. These ads ran prior to receiving unanimous approval from the State Corporation Commission and the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board.

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