Dominion to sell renewable credits from Virginia City

Dominion (NYSE:D) is not required to start burning biomass at its 585-MW Virginia City Hybrid plant in Wise County, Va., until July 2015 but the company is already making arrangements to sell renewable credits from the mostly coal-fired station.

Dominion’s Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power has already won recognition as a “Tier 1 renewable energy resource” in Pennsylvania. It is seeking a similar designation in Maryland. Dominion filed its request with the Maryland Public Service Commission in May.

Dominion started commercial operation of the Virginia City Hybrid plant in July 2012, making it one of the newer coal units in the nation.

Virginia City came online in mid-2012 and its permit requires the facility to burn at least 5% biomass within three years, a Dominion spokesperson told GenerationHub Aug. 20. The biomass percentage must then increase by 1% annually until it reaches 10%.

The advanced design allows the Virginia City plant to burn 20% biomass fuel, such as wood-waste solids, according to the document filed with the Maryland PSC.

While Dominion plans to sell virtually all of its energy within its Virginia service area, the company hopes to win approval to sell renewable energy credits, or RECs, throughout the PJM market, the Dominion representative said.  

“We want to get the best prices that we can for the RECs,” because the financial benefit is passed on to ratepayers, said the Dominion spokesperson.

Virginia, however, has no renewable portfolio standard (RPS) but merely a renewable energy target, the spokesperson noted.

So far, Dominion has been experimenting with biomass co-firing at the power plant in the Virginia coalfields. The testing has, so far, including about 8% biomass in the fuel mix, the spokesperson said.

The biomass is considered carbon neutral. At Virginia City, the biomass fuel would be wood or bark and would not include any wood that contains chemical treatments.

Dominion is also converting some small coal units in Virginia to biomass.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.