Power plant to generate free ash

Published 8:28 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011

COURTLAND—Dominion Power’s plans to convert its Southampton County power plant from coal to wood-fueled is expected to benefit local farmers.

During Monday’s Southampton County supervisors meeting, James Eck, vice president of generation development for Dominion, said wood ash from the plant would be delivered to farmers at no cost. Wood ash can be substituted for lime, which over 30 years will save farmers $2.5 million.

“The ash is expected to be an excellent substitute for lime, which costs $35 a ton in today’s market,” Eck said. “About 2.75 parts of ash equal one part of lime in farm fields, and can be directly substituted by farmers.”

Dominion Power, by late 2012, plans to begin its $45 million conversion of the plant on General Thomas Highway between Franklin and Newsoms. Construction is expected to take nine months.

David Faison, director of operations for Dominion, said giving ash to farmers near the company’s Pittsylvania County plant has been successful.

“We have a waiting list from the Pittsylvania farmers,” Faison said. “It’s been done a number of years and the farmers love it.”

Dominion will deliver one to two covered trucks of ash a day, he said.

Concern was expressed for spreading the hot ash on field and triggering a fire.

Farmers are instructed to wait until the ash cools.

“We have had instances when farmers have mishandled it,” Faison said.