Clean Power Plan could eliminate coal at Virginia Power by 2029

In the worst case, the court-stayed Clean Power Plan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sweeps away all coal-fired power at Virginia Electric and Power, including the relatively new Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) in the coalfields of southwest Virginia.

That is according to an integrated resource plan that the utility filed April 29 with the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the North Carolina Utilities Commission. This Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) subsidiary does business in Virginia as Dominion Virginia Power and in North Caroliina as Dominion North Carolina Power.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year stayed the CO2-reducing Clean Power Plan while appeals of that plan are decided at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Dominion noted that it isn’t clear if this stay, which will probably run for about two years while the court cases are decided, will push back the 2022 and 2030 compliance deadlines in the Clean Power Plan.

This uncertainty about the status of the CPP, plus certain options within the CPP, means that Dominion offered several scenarios for its future resource plans. Said the utility about one of those scenarios: “As shown in Chapter 6, compliance under Plan E: Mass-Based Emissions Cap (existing and new units) is not only the highest cost alternative of the Studied Plans, it also models the potential retirement of the Company’s entire Virginia coal generation fleet, including VCHEC, which would result in additional economic hardship to the Virginia communities where these facilities are located.”

The retrofitted and retired units in the Studied Plans are as follows:


  • 786 MW of heavy oil-fired generation installed with new selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) controls at Possum Point Unit 5 by 2018 (Studied Plans).


  • No units selected for repower at this time.


  • 323 MW of coal-fired generation at Yorktown Units 1 and 2, to be retired by 2017 (Studied Plans);
  • 790 MW of oil-fired generation at Yorktown Unit 3, to be potentially retired in 2022 (all CPP-Compliant Alternative Plans);
  • 261 MW of coal-fired generation at Chesterfield Units 3 and 4, and 138 MW of coal-fired generation at Mecklenburg Units 1 and 2, all to be potentially retired in 2022 (all CPP-Compliant Alternative Plans);
  • 1,006 MW of coal-fired generation at Chesterfield Units 5 and 6, and 439 MW of coal-fired generation at Clover Units 1 and 2, all to be potentially retired in 2022 (Plan E: Mass Emissions Cap (existing and new units)); and
  • 610 MW of coal-fired generation at VCHEC, to be potentially retired in 2029 (Plan E: Mass Emissions Cap (existing and new units)).

The following are common to the Studied Plans through the Planning Period, meaning a high likelihood of actually happening:

Demand-Side Resources (currently evaluated)

  • approved DSM programs reaching approximately 304 MW by 2031; and
  • proposed DSM programs reaching approximately 26 MW by 2031.

Generation under Construction

  • Greensville County Power Station, approximately 1,585 MW of natural gas-fired combined cycle (CC) capacity by 2019; and
  • Solar Partnership Program, consisting of 7 MW (nameplate) (8 MW DC) of capacity of solar distributed generation (DG) by 2017.

Generation under Development

  • Virginia utility-scale solar generation, approximately 400 MW (nameplate), to be phased in from 2016 to 2020, including Scott (17 MW), Whitehouse (20 MW) and Woodland (19 MW); and
  • Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP), approximately 12 MW (nameplate) as early as 2018.

Non-Utility Generators (NUGs)

  • 600 MW (nameplate) of North Carolina solar NUGs by 2017.


  • Possum Point Power Station Unit 5, retrofitted with SNCR by 2018.


  • Yorktown Power Station Units 1 and 2 by 2017.

Nuclear Extensions

  • Surry Units 1 and 2, license extensions of 20 years by 2033; and
  • North Anna Units 1 and 2, license extensions of 20 years by 2038.
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.