ST. PAUL, Va., Nov. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power started one of two boilers Thursday at its Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Southwest Virginia, beginning the testing phase of the power station that is on budget and on schedule to begin generating electricity next summer.
"First fire is a major milestone for the Virginia City project and signifies a shift from construction to a station focused on excellent operations," said David A. Christian, chief executive officer of Dominion Generation, which operates electricity-generating stations for Dominion Virginia Power. "There have been many talented and dedicated people who have worked over 12.5 million hours to get to this point. This sets the stage for successful project completion next year."
Work began at VCHEC in June 2008 and is 93 percent complete. Construction is well into its final phase during which station equipment is being tested and cleared to be put into operation. The $1.8 billion project remains on budget and on schedule for commercial operation by the summer of 2012.
Initial cleaning, heating and testing at VCHEC will be performed using fuel oil. Part of the activity surrounding first firing will be the release of steam – called steam blows – which is a common technique used to clean the piping before steam is sent to the turbines that spin the station's electric generator.
After it begins commercial operations, the power station will burn coal, waste coal and biomass – wood chips – in its two circulating fluidized bed boilers to produce 585 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 146,000 homes at peak demand. This station is part of Dominion's plan to meet an anticipated growth of nearly 4,600 megawatts in electricity demand in Virginia during the next decade.
First operation of the station's boilers on coal will occur early next year. First delivery of coal and waste coal to the station is expected in December. Biomass will be introduced into the fuel mix next year after the operation of the station's systems is first proven on coal.
As a condition of its air emissions permit for the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, Dominion will convert the oldest-coal burning power station in its fleet, the Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County, from coal to natural-gas operation. The conversion will result in significant net reductions in various air emissions, including carbon-dioxide.
Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,200 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.
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SOURCE Dominion Virginia Power
For further information: Media: Greg Edwards, +1-276-762-2036, Gregory.P.Edwards@dom.com, or Analysts: Nathan Frost, +1-804-819-2187, Nathan.J.Frost@dom.com