Biomass facilities rely partially or completely on renewable fuel for generation. In Dominion’s electric utility service territory in Virginia, this renewable fuel is primarily derived from waste wood typically left behind in the forests as part of the logging process for roundwood. Roundwood is harvested to make lumber, pulp & paper, or wood pellets. Waste wood is the smaller tree tops and branches left behind after roundwood harvesting.
Dominion has converted three of its existing coal-fired power stations located in Virginia to 100% renewable biomass fuel. The three facilities are the Altavista, Hopewell and Southampton power stations. Each facility produces up to 51 MW of electricity for our customers (total of 153 MW of biomass-fueled power).
In addition to the converted stations, Dominion owns and operates Pittsylvania Power Station, an 83 MW biomass facility, in Hurt, VA, and the 585 MW Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County, which can utilize up to 20% biomass for fuel.
The conversions from coal to biomass fuel benefits Dominion’s customers, the environment and Virginia as a whole, and will produce renewable energy certificates that can be optimized for customer benefit. The three conversion projects were selected as a reasonable and cost-effective means of addressing customers’ growing need for reliable electric service, and they are expected to provide customer savings over their 25-year lives when compared to continued operation of the units on coal.
The biomass conversions also have numerous benefits to Virginia’s environment, including reductions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and mercury compared to continued coal operations, and they meet EPA’s existing or proposed regulations.
The biomass facilities promote economic development and enhance employment within Virginia, including jobs during their construction period and the addition of approximately 300 jobs for logging, chipping and hauling of the biomass fuel to the three facilities.
Dominion Virginia Power received approval for the conversions from the SCC on March 16, 2012.
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