Biomass conversion planned for Dominion coal-fired power plants

Dominion Virginia Power plans to convert three power stations from coal to biomass.

The power stations in Altavista, Hopewell and Southampton County are identical and went into operation in 1992. Each of these units can currently produce 63 MW of electricity of peaking power, running only when demand is at its highest. When converted, they would generate 50 MW each, but operate essentially all of the time.

If the conversions are approved by local governments, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia State Corporation Commission, they could begin burning biomass in 2013.

Dominion said the fuel switch would reduce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury and particulate emissions, and all of the stations would meet  new emissions standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The stations would obtain most of  their fuel from the waste wood left from timbering operations and would comply with a Virginia law regulating the use of biomass for electric generation. Dominion will also be adhering to its allocated cap of 1.11 million tons per year of green wood chips and related tree materials.

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