Dominion conversion good news

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Last week’s announcement that Dominion Virginia Power will be converting the Southampton Power Station from a coal-burning facility to one that burns waste wood products is great news for the region’s economy.

A pat on the back goes to Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson, Franklin-Southampton Economic Development President and Chief Executive Officer John Smolak, and those responsible for working with Dominion to secure this positive development.

The economic impact for Southampton County will be significant, as the changeover will mean nearly $300,000 annually in increased tax revenue. The local economy as a whole will benefit even more. Some key highlights include:

• Approximately $45 million in capital improvements made by Dominion Virginia Power at the Southampton Power Station

• Local services purchased by the Power Station expected to be an average of $350,000 per year

• Thirty jobs totaling $2.8 million in annual payroll will be retained

• Based on increased demand above the wood products already being produced, a minimum of one hundred new forestry and trucking jobs will be created regionally with expected annual payroll of $4.2 million

• The life expectancy of the Power Station will be extended by 30 years.

Additionally, an average of 50 construction jobs per week at an annual value of $2.2 million will be created for the approximate one-year time period needed for the conversion of the facility. If plans move ahead as scheduled, construction should begin in the third quarter of 2012 and be completed and operational by the fourth quarter of 2013.

For a region starved for good economic news, this announcement could not have come at a better time. We expect that it is a sign of more good news to come.

We have been touting for some time that Western Tidewater is a great place to live and do business. Thanks to Dominion Virginia Power for putting its money where our mouth is.