Dominion gets green light to convert to biomass

By Anna Austin | March 20, 2012

One year after announcing intentions to convert three coal-fired power plants to biomass, Dominion Virginia Power Corp. has received permission from the Virginia State Corporation Commission to do so.

The identical power plants are located in Altavista, Hopewell and Southampton County, Va., and have all been operating since 1992. Each has an electrical capacity of 63 MW and will produce about 51 MW post-conversion, enough electricity to collectively power 37,500 homes.

The cost of the conversions is expected to be about $165.8 million, and Dominion plans to have the plants operating by the end of 2013 so they qualify for federal production tax credits.

The company expects the conversions to have a significant economic impact over the 30-year life of the stations, including $30 million in local taxes, $180 million for the creation of more than 300 jobs in the forestry and trucking industries, and about $120 million paid to the 90 power station employees.

Dominion plans to meet Virginia’s voluntary renewable portfolio standard, which calls for 15 percent of the company's electricity to be generated from renewable resources by 2025.