Dominion: coal-to-biomass conversions to be done by end of 2013

Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power told the Virginia State Corporation Commission that the coal-to-biomass conversions of the Altavista, Southampton and Hopewell power plants are due for completion late this year.

“The Biomass Conversions are generally proceeding on schedule and under budget,” said the company in a June 14 annual update report. “[T]he Biomass Conversions are on schedule to be fully operational as biomass-fueled units by December 2013.”

Dominion added: “The contract to provide engineering, procurement, and construction (‘EPC’) services was executed with Crowder Construction Company on June 30, 2011. The contract to engineer and supply required boiler modification equipment was executed with Babcock and Wilcox Company on August 10, 2011. All major equipment has been procured and engineering is proceeding according to schedule. As of May 2013, Altavista site construction is almost complete, and commissioning of the wood yard has begun. Construction activities at Hopewell and Southampton have commenced.”

The total forecasted costs for the conversions have decreased $8.4m or 5.1% to $157.4m from the original budget case. There have also been cost variances from the original estimates both upward and downward within specific cost categories and subcategories, as would be expected for a project of this size and complexity.

Once completed, the conversions would, according to previous company testimony filed at the commission, decrease the net capacity rating for each facility from 63 MW to 51 MW. But it would increase the expected energy production for each compared to continued coal operations. The biomass firing at these three plants would be in addition to a relatively small percentage of biomass as fuel that the utility is firing in the new, largely coal-fired Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center. 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.