Dominion completes one gas plant; nears air permit for another

Dominion (NYSE:D) recently completed one major combined-cycle natural gas power plant in Virginia and is close to securing an air permit for another, while developing solar projects, Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II said May 4.

Farrell made his comments during a regular quarterly earnings call with financial analysts.

“We continue to execute with strong operational and safety performance while also investing in an array of clean energy infrastructure.  Brunswick County, the 1,358-MW natural gas combined-cycle facility, was placed in commercial operation last week ahead of schedule.  Our request for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) and rate rider for the proposed 1,588-MW Greensville County project was recently approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission,” Farrell said.

“We continued our commitment to increase the renewable energy in Virginia by signing solar agreements with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Microsoft,” Farrell said.

At the height of construction, Brunswick had about 1,500 workers on site, Farrell said. The same team of contractors that built Brunswick is also building Greensville, the CEO added.

“Our Cove Point liquefaction project is also progressing on time and on budget,” Farrell said. The project overall is about 64% complete and engineering 99% complete as we are on schedule for a late 2017 in-service date.”

Dominion and its partners in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline filed applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September 2015. An amendment was filed in March with an updated route.  Surveying and pipeline engineering will be completed this year.

The partners expect Atlantic Coast pipeline construction to start in mid-2017 and commercial operation to start in late 2018, Farrell said.

Hearings were held in March for three solar facilities totaling 56 MW. If approved, the units are expected in-service later this year. Dominion will soon file for a Virginia certificate to build the 20-MW Remington solar project, which will sell power to the state.

Dominion is looking toward solar power rather than wind, because solar is a better power source in the areas where Dominion does business, Farrell said.

The new Warren County natural gas plant in Virginia helped Dominion set a generation record during the first quarter, Farrell said. Nuclear capacity for the first quarter of the year was better than 96%.

Quarterly earnings were affected by a refueling outage at the non-utility Millstone nuclear plant in Connecticut. Dominion is heartened for Millstone’s prospects in light of interest in fuel diversity by certain New England states, officials said.

Millstone provides a large chunk of Connecticut’s power generation when both units are operating, Farrell said. As one of the few nuclear plants operating in New England after this year, Millstone appears to be well-positioned for clean air generation business, Farrell suggested.

Dominion announced operating earnings for the three months ended March 31, of $572m (96 cents per share), compared to operating earnings of $584m (99 cents per share) for the same period in 2015.  Operating earnings are defined as reported earnings, determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), adjusted for certain items. 

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.