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Dominion hosts informational meeting on proposed energy-peaking station at Southern Virginia Megasite
Southern Virginia Megasite

Dominion hosts informational meeting on proposed energy-peaking station at Southern Virginia Megasite

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Dominion employees present information on a proposed energy-peaking station at the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill during a Tuesday night meeting in Brosville.

BROSVILLE — Several poster boards were set up on easels around the perimeter of the gymnasium at Brosville Elementary School, where Dominion Energy hosted a public information meeting Tuesday evening concerning a proposed energy-peaking station at the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill.

Several Dominion employees made presentations to a small crowd of about 15 people on the proposed natural gas plant, which is projected to be complete in 2022.

The site, which the company announced in November, is intended to meet peak demand and compensate for renewable energy resources — such as solar and wind — that can’t consistently generate as much energy.

“When those load spikes hit, this unit picks that up,” said Karl Humberson, director of generation projects.

The plant, which will connect to the existing Transco natural gas pipeline running through the megasite, will use twin combustion turbines that can easily be turned on in as little as 10 minutes during times of peak need and quickly turned off when the demand quiets. Each of the twin turbines will be about the size of a house and will combine to provide a maximum of 500 megawatts of energy, which translates to about 125,000 homes.

“This is the latest technology ... it’s designed to be efficient,” said Thomas Effinger, director of environmental services for Dominion.

Dominion estimates that, once completed, the station will provide about $1.4 million in annual tax revenue to Danville and Pittsylvania County through the Regional Industrial Facility Authority. Over the lifespan of the project, Dominion believes it will provide a total economic benefit of $12.3 million for the Dan River Region.

During peak construction, the company expects nearly 200 workers would be on-site. Once the project is operational, it will maintain about 10 full-time employees, Humberson said.

Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe said this project, as well as future projects at the megasite, will “take considerable time to develop.”

“This is just the first few steps of a 100-foot journey,” he said.

Board of supervisors member Ronald Scearce, who attended the meeting Tuesday, said he is excited to see progress happening at the megasite, which the city and county have worked on since around 2008. The largest industrial park in Virginia, the 3,528-acre site in Pittsylvania County, a few miles west of Danville, currently is unoccupied but outfitted with utilities and ready for business.

“It’s good to get the first project in there. It’s been a long process,” Scearce said.

Negotiations for an incentive package for the company still are ongoing, Rowe said.

The project has been suspended temporarily as the company waits for the results of an integrated resource plan, which provides a 20-year projection of the company and the markets it services. The plan is scheduled to come out around May, but the company is moving forward with the permitting process in the meantime, Humberson said.

The next steps are for the company to obtain an air quality impact assessment and a technical review from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The plant would emit in excess of 250 tons of nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide annually, which necessitates the extensive permitting process, Effinger said.

The company also will need to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the State Corporation Commission.

In addition to the peaking station, Dominion has announced two other projects in the county. The first is a 120-megawatt solar project near Chatham. Amazon and Arlington counties recently announced intentions to purchase the energy generated from the project.

The second is an electric school bus program to provide two buses to Pittsylvania County Schools that contain batteries that can store energy.

Ayers reports for the Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 791-7981.

Ayers reports for the Register & Bee. Reach him at (434) 791-7981.

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