Virginia Power has gas and (maybe) some wind/nuclear capacity on the way

Virginia Electric and Power is developing, financing, and constructing new generation capacity to meet growing electricity demand within its service territory, said parent Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) in its Feb. 27 annual Form 10-K report.

Significant projects under construction or development as listed in the Form 10-K are:

  • In August 2013, the Virginia State Corporation Commission authorized the construction of the gas-fired, 1,358-MW Brunswick County project, which is estimated to cost about $1.2 billion. Construction of the facility commenced in the third quarter of 2013 with commercial operations to begin in mid 2016. Brunswick County is expected to offset the expected reduction in capacity caused by the retirement of coal-fired units at the Chesapeake plant in December 2014 and at the Yorktown plant as early as 2016, primarily due to the cost of compliance with the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).
  • In January 2015, Virginia Power filed a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission to build the state’s first utility-scale solar facility. The 20-MW project would be built near Virginia Power’s Remington Power Station in Fauquier County. The estimated in-service date for the facility, subject to regulatory approvals, is the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Virginia Power is considering the construction of a third nuclear unit at a site located at North Anna. If Virginia Power decides to build a new unit, it must first receive a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, approval of the Virginia Corporation Commission and certain environmental permits and other approvals. In April 2013, Virginia Power decided to replace the reactor design previously selected for a potential unit with General Electric-Hitachi’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) technology. Virginia Power filed the first of its two-part amendment to the license application with the NRC in July 2013 to reflect the ESBWR technology and filed the second part of the amendment in December 2013. The license is expected in 2016. Virginia Power has not yet committed to building a new nuclear unit at North Anna, the Form 10-K emphasized.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auctioned approximately 113,000 acres of federal land off the Virginia coast as a single lease for construction of offshore wind turbines. Virginia Power was awarded the lease, effective November 2013. BOEM has several lease milestones with which Virginia Power must comply as conditions to being awarded the lease.
  • Virginia Power is also considering the development of a commercial offshore wind generation project through a federal land lease off the Virginia coast. Virginia Power and several partners are collaborating to develop a 12-MW offshore wind demonstration project, which is proposed to be located approximately 24 miles off the coast of Virginia. In May 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP) as one of three projects to receive up to $47 million of follow-on funding. This project may be operational as early as the end of 2017, pending regulatory approvals.

The company noted that in June 2014, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) granted a one-year MATS compliance extension, to April 2016, for two coal-fired units at Yorktown to defer planned retirements and allow for continued operation of the units to address reliability concerns while necessary electric transmission upgrades are being completed. The 227-MW Bremo plant in Virginia was converted from coal to gas in 2014.

Absent from this list of future generation projects contained in the Form 10-K is one of the biggest. PJM Interconnection issued a November 2014 System Impact Study, which is a mid-point in the generation project interconnection process, for a 1,681-MW combined-cycle project that would be located in Greensville County, Va. This Virginia Power project, under queue #Z1-086, will interconnect into the Virginia Power system via a new three breaker ring bus switching station that connects to the Carson-Heritage 500-kV line. The project in-service date in the study is Dec. 1, 2018, though that may change as the queue review process goes along.

The capacity of Virginia Power’s electric utility fleet totals approximately 20,400 MW. The generation mix includes coal, nuclear, gas, oil, hydro, renewables, and power purchase agreements. Virginia Power’s generation facilities are located in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, and serve load in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Virginia Power does business in Virginia as Dominion Virginia Power and in North Carolina as Dominion North Carolina Power.

Both Virginia and North Carolina have passed legislation setting targets for renewable power. Virginia Power, said the Form 10-K, is committed to meeting Virginia’s goals of 12% of base year electric energy sales from renewable power sources by 2022, and 15% by 2025, and North Carolina’s RPS of 12.5% by 2021.

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.