Dominion Virginia Power's nine power generation projects to net state more than $3B in economic benefits

Source: Dominion

Nine major power generation and environmental protection projects recently completed, under way or planned for the near future by Dominion Virginia Power will produce more than $3.3 billion in economic benefits for the commonwealth by 2015, a study of the projects' economic impact reports. 

"These projects are economic engines and are some of the most significant construction efforts in our history to meet the present and future energy needs of the commonwealth," said David A. Christian, chief executive officer of Dominion Generation. "They will help power Virginia's economic recovery, in addition to meeting the growing demand for electricity of homes and businesses and improving environmental quality." 

The program will support more than 14,200 construction jobs in Virginia from 2007 through 2015, reports the study by the Richmond-based economic research and consulting firm of Chmura Economics & Analytics. Additionally, once the projects are completed, their ongoing operations will produce annual economic benefits of more than $290 million and generate more than 750 jobs beginning in 2015, the study found. 

"Dominion's construction program is of vital importance to the Commonwealth," said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. "Dominion's initiative not only provides construction and permanent jobs, but will also produce needed new electric generation capacity to meet the needs of our citizens and for the prosperity of our businesses." 

Barry E. DuVal, president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that Virginia's electricity re-regulation law of 2007 has played a significant role in the development of these projects.

"The re-regulation law creates an environment encouraging utilities to invest in the production of additional energy in the Commonwealth," DuVal said. "The jobs, as well as the tax base, created due to these investments will have a long term positive impact on Virginia's economy and in the short term, will boost Virginia's construction industry that currently has a 25% unemployment rate." 

"As the gap between demand and supply widens, the best way to secure Virginia's energy independence is to build more power generating facilities in our Commonwealth. The re-regulation act is designed to help ensure capital is available to invest in new power production while also restoring Virginia to regulatory oversight by the State Corporation Commission," said DuVal. 

The projects will help meet Virginia's increasing demand for power, expand the use of renewable resources and protect the environment through improved air quality. 

The study measured benefits attributed directly to the construction, including spending for labor, materials, equipment and professional services. It also measured indirect and induced economic benefits from construction. Indirect impact refers to secondary spending, such as using trucking companies to transport supplies and materials to the construction sites. Induced impacts occur when employees engaged in the construction and their suppliers spend earnings as consumers. 

Construction Jobs and Spending 

Of the total benefits from 2007-2015, $1.9 billion in spending in Virginia and 8,853 jobs are attributed directly to construction of the nine facilities. 

The remaining $1.4 billion in spending and 5,367 jobs are the indirect and induced impact resulting from construction. 

On an annual basis from 2007-2015, the construction program will produce an average of about $368 million in economic benefits per year and will support 1,580 jobs. 

Operations 

The Chmura report also found that beginning in 2015, operations at the nine sites will result in approximately $175 million in annual direct spending and produce 135 jobs. 

The remaining $117 million in annual economic benefits and 621 jobs result from indirect and induced impacts. 

The building program – Powering Virginia -- is designed to help meet Virginia's steadily rising demand for power. PJM Interconnection LLC, which operates the regional power grid in 13 states including Virginia, estimates the peak demand for electricity from customers in Dominion's service area will rise by approximately 4,500 megawatts during the next 10 years. Summer peak demand will increase an average of 2.1 percent annually during that period, the highest growth rate in the PJM region. 

The nine projects in the study are: 

New generation facilities: 

Bear Garden, a 580-megawatt station in Buckingham County that became operational this year. 

Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, a 585-megawatt station in Wise County, which is scheduled to become operational next year. 

Warren County, a 1,300-megawatt station projected to begin commercial operations in late 2014. 

Halifax Solar, a 4-megawatt solar development in Halifax County, for which the company expects to apply for state regulatory approval in the spring of 2012.

Conversions of existing power stations: 

Bremo, a Fluvanna County station the company will convert from coal to natural gas. 

Coal-burning facilities in Altavista, Hopewell and Southampton County, each of which will be converted to operate on waste wood generated by the timber industry to produce about 150 megawatts of electricity from biomass, a renewable resource.

Environmental protection: 

Chesterfield Power Station, where a flue gas desulfurization system, or scrubber, has been installed to reduce emissions from three coal-powered units. One unit has been connected, and the other two will be connected to the system by the end of this year. This scrubber joins one at the station that began operating in 2008.

Christian noted that the Virginia City, Bear Garden, Halifax County and Warren County facilities will add more than 2,400 megawatts of much needed capacity. One megawatt of generation can meet the peak power needs of approximately 250 homes. 

The Chesterfield and Bremo projects will significantly reduce emissions at the sites. The conversion of the Altavista, Hopewell and Southampton facilities will expand Dominion's use of biomass and help meet the Commonwealth's voluntary goal of supplying 15 percent of power to customers from renewable resources by 2025.



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