Protecting the environment is a core value at Dominion. Power generation carries with it a tremendous responsibility — to produce electricity in ways that protect the environment, as well as human health and safety. We take great pride in our record of environmental stewardship.
By 2015, we will have spent $2.6 billion to install state-of-the-art environmental protection equipment at generating stations serving our Virginia customers. This includes projects to control sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions. We have also converted some of our generating units to clean-burning natural gas and plan to build additional gas-fired units.
Much of that spending — about $1.7 billion worth — stems from a landmark agreement we reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2003 When faced with stricter federal air quality standards, many utilities took the path of resistance. Instead, we took the path of cooperation, undertaking one of the most comprehensive air quality improvement programs ever launched by an American utility.
Diverse Generation Portfolio
Dominion's diverse fleet of generating stations, using a variety of fuel sources, also helps protect our natural resources. For example, approximately 42 percent of the electricity we supply to our customers here in the commonwealth is produced by nuclear energy — an energy source that produces no atmospheric emissions. We also operate a fleet of hydroelectric stations in North Carolina and Virginia, including our Bath County pumped storage project.
We have also converted some coal-fired units to clean-burning natural gas and have plans for additional gas-powered units in the future.
We are increasing our renewable energy investments to bring even more diversity to our power supplies. The company is committed to expanding its renewable portfolio to help Virginia meet its 12-percent renewable generation target by 2022 and North Carolina's 12.5 percent renewable mandate by 2021.
And protecting the environment is a cornerstone of our plans for our new Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County. The station will produce power using systems recognized as clean-coal technology by the U.S. Department of Energy. And recently, the U.S. Forest Service hailed "Dominion's efforts to meet the growing electrical needs through new and more efficient and less polluting projects" such as the Virginia City station.
We've met the environmental challenges of the 20th century. And based on this foundation, we are well positioned to meet the paramount environmental challenge of the 21st century — climate change.