East Virginia’s Dominion Power Sees Plant Closings as Opportunity for Growth — And No Whining

Unlike whiny AEP executives, Dominion Virginia Power sees their coal plant closings as an opportunity for business growth and diversification of their sources of power.  Here is a news story about Dominion’s plans.

Dominion is making a big commitment to new natural gas generation including “12 smaller natural gas-fired turbine units coming into service between 2020 and 2026 at locations to be determined.”  Compare this plan with plans by AEP’s WV subsidiary APCo to build no new natural gas plants in WV because they can’t build a big monster plant.

Dominion’s plan is not perfect.  The company appears to only be giving lip service to expanding solar and wind capacity, but they do include new initiatives in their plan.  And they are still talking about a third reactor at their North Anna plant which is built directly over an active earthquake fault.  If you don’t think this is a good idea, after the recent earthquake centered near North Anna, take a look at this report of how Virginia Power, now owned by Dominion, lied about the fault to get permits to build the first two reactors.

There is no reference in the article about any Dominion whining about the EPA.  Dominion clearly sees this as an opportunity to strengthen their electrical system through diversification and beginning a move to smaller generating units.

AEP’s APCo operates in part of East Virginia, and APCo will have to present a similar plan to the VA SCC.  Here is the final sentence of the article: “Appalachian Power, the state’s second-largest utility, planned to file its plan with the SCC Thursday, but officials said uncertainty in federal environmental regulations could change its plan dramatically.”  Of course, more whining.

Cross posted from Coalition for Reliable Power

4 thoughts on “East Virginia’s Dominion Power Sees Plant Closings as Opportunity for Growth — And No Whining

  1. Don’t be naive about Dominion and coal. It built a new plant in Wise County, VA

    http://bethwellington.blogspot.com/2009/08/judge-to-dominion-you-cant-make-up-your.html
    http://bethwellington.blogspot.com/2008/06/richmond-police-descend-on-blue-ridge.html (see bottom of the post for myths Dominion perpetuated about the plant.

    In Addition, Dominion Energy’s co-owner of several plants, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, wants to build another in tiny Dendron, Virginia. It ODEC acting as a trojan horse for Dominion to co-own another coal-fired plant?

    http://bethwellington.blogspot.com/2008/12/another-coal-fired-plant-for-virginia.html

    • Beth,

      You are obviously new to The Power Line if you think I am naive about any aspect of coal. The point of my post is that while AEP is whining about the EPA and refusing to do anything else, Dominion is making some initial moves away from coal.

      In fact, the significance of Dominion’s moves is not so much the fuels they propose using, but the fact that they are proposing 12 smaller scale plants around the state. Coal cannot do distributed generation. As long as there are big coal burners and a centralized grid, there will be all the problems that coal produces. It is clear, especially from President Obama’s capitulation to the industry yesterday on ozone, that regulation of coal is futile in the US. We have to shift technology and electrical generation away from the coal-defined technology of electrical production if we are ever going to diminish coal’s impact. Distributed generation makes coal burning impossible for electricity production.

  2. Just because I disagree w. you doesn’t mean that I am “obviously new.” Dominion hasn’t given up on coal and natural gas has problems of its own.

    First of all, it’s a finite resource. And its use slows transition to better solutions.

    And while natural gas generates about half as much carbon dioxide, or CO2, as coal, less particulate matter, and very little sulfur dioxide or toxic air emissions, it does produce nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in quantities comparable to coal burning according to this source. http://www.powerscorecard.org/tech_detail.cfm?resource_id=6

    Natural gas releases methane, which ton for ton, traps 25 x more heat than carbon dioxide. Of course, we can’t know about the extent of emissions, since U.S. companies aren’t made to report them: the oil and gas industries were exempted from reporting in 2009. Then in 2010, there were “final rules” issued, but see the latest: http://www.bna.com/rules-increase-flexibility-n12884903609/

    Natural gas extraction threatens ecosystems throughout North America. Think: drilling on farms, public lands, forests and parks, in the Rocky Mountains and other coal-field communities, off of U.S. coastal waters and possibly even under the Great Lakes. Think: erosion, loss of soil productivity, and increased runoffs, landslides, flooding and water use. And then there’s fracking, pipelines, compressor stations.

    Not to mention liquified natural gas terminals (LGN). Originally proposed for importing gas, now there is talk of exports, which will increase the price of natural gas:
    http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110927/NEWS/109270306
    http://www.registerguard.com/web/opinion/26925007-47/gas-lng-energy-export-terminals.html.csp

    • I observed that you appeared to be new to The Power Line, because you believed that we disagree. We don’t. I have no problem with everything you list in your comment. This is not a blog about coal and natural gas as fuels. It is a blog about the management of the electrical transmission system in the US. The one advantage that natural gas electrical generation has over coal is that it can be scaled down so that it can become a part of the new distributed generation grid that will be needed to transition away from coal in a realistic way.

      My only problem with your comments is that they are not quite on the subject of this blog. There have been times when I have commented on coal and natural gas as they are connected to transmission issues. These fuel issues are completely intertwined with how electricity is generated and where it is transmitted. I would appreciate it in the future if you could focus on these connections instead of repeating a lot of information with which most of the readers of The Power Line are already familiar.

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