Dominion gets through first hurdle for converting power plant

Published 10:31 am Friday, April 15, 2011

COURTLAND—Southampton County Planning Commission on Thursday night recommend approving a conditional-use permit for Dominion Virginia Power to convert a Courtland-area generating station from coal to waste wood.

Nearly all of the 50 people attending the hearing spoke in favor of Dominion’s plans. The Board of Supervisors during their 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 25 meeting will have a public hearing on the matter before voting on whether or not to support the conditional-use permit.

The power company has said it will retain the 30 jobs at the plant at Delaware Road and Shady Brook Trail with the conversion. The change also will lead to at least 100 new jobs in forestry, logging and trucking.

The conversion would allow the plant to increase productivity from around 30 percent to 90 percent, adding job security for employees and the plant’s $2.8 million payroll.

If the conversion is approved, it could generate almost $300,000 in additional tax revenues beginning in fiscal year 2014.

The conversion will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. In addition the conversion switches the plant to a renewable fuel source. It takes a product that is mostly wasted and uses it to generate energy.

The Southampton County station is one of three plants Dominion is converting from coal to biomass. Plants in Altavista and Hopewell will also be converted. The three plants are identical and went into operation in 1992.