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Dominion to build power plant in Brunswick County

Tuesday - 2/28/2012, 6:40pm  ET

By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM
AP Business Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - Energy provider Dominion Virginia Power said Tuesday that it plans to build a new gas-fired power plant in Brunswick County as part of its blueprint to meet growing energy demands and comply with changes to environmental regulations.

The Richmond-based company said the proposed $1 billion, 1,300-megawatt facility near Lawrenceville would create 600 construction jobs and 30 full-time jobs once operational. The station also would yield up to $4 million in annual property taxes for a county that now collects about $45 million a year.

The state's largest utility, which has about 2.3 million customers, said it plans to ask Virginia regulators later this year for permission to build the facility on the 205-acre site. If approved, it expects the power station would be completed by the summer of 2016 and produce enough electricity to power 325,000 homes.

"This is tremendous news for any county in our commonwealth, but particularly for Brunswick County and Southside Virginia," Gov. Bob McDonnell said at a news conference, where he was joined by several state, local and company officials to announce the project.

He said it is the largest economic development project in Brunswick County history.

"It means new jobs in a county that has experienced twice the unemployment rate of the rest of the state for four years now," said Joan Moore, executive director of the Brunswick County Economic Development Authority.

Earlier this month the State Corporation Commission gave Dominion the green light to build a similar power plant in Warren County. It is expected to begin delivering power by December 2014. Dominion also is completing work on its 585-megawatt Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County that is on schedule to be operational by the middle of the year.

Dominion had announced plans in September to close or convert some of its coal-fired power stations, as well as open new power plants as part of a long-term energy plan. That included the likely closure of several coal-fired units at Chesapeake Energy Center and Yorktown Power Station because it is more effective to close the units than to install new environmental controls.

At the time, Dominion said a mix of new generation facilities, energy conservation and management programs, as well as transmission line upgrades will help meet reliability and environmental needs at the lowest cost.

The company says PJM Interconnection, the group that oversees the electric grid for a 13-state region, expects that customers will demand 4,000 more megawatts of electricity from Dominion during peak demand by 2022.

Parent company Dominion Resources Inc. is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy and has the nation's largest natural gas storage system. It serves retail customers in 15 states.

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)