Dominion Virginia Power on Friday asked the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) to approve construction of a 1,358-MW combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant to replace power from aging coal plants that the company has deemed are not economically or environmentally sound to continue operating.

The generator has proposed to build the $1.3 billion power plant in Brunswick County on a 214-acre site on U.S. Route 58 east of Lawrenceville, Va., and begin operating it by the spring of 2016.

Dominion said it planned to meet anticipated demand projected by PJM Interconnection with 5,300 MW of new generation over the next 15 years. The 13-state regional transmission organization projects that Dominion’s service area will be one of its fastest growing regions.

Dominion plans to retire more than 900 MW of coal-fired generation from its Chesapeake Energy Center and Yorktown Power Station by 2015 because new federal environmental regulations make them uneconomic to continue to operate,” it said. More than 19,000 MW of coal-fired generation will be retired from 2011 through 2019 in PJM, with most retiring by the end of 2015.

“Company testimony indicates that the power station would have reduced system fuel expenses by an estimated $112 million had it been operating in 2011,” Dominion said. “The station will be able to take advantage of low natural gas prices and is designed to comply with stringent new environmental regulations.” For example, proposed plans for the plant call for use of an air-cooled condenser that reduces water consumption by more than 90% as compared to a water-based cooling tower, Dominion said.

Dominion has received local approvals from Brunswick County and has applied to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for an air permit.

Sources: POWERnews, Dominion

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)