Apr 19, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), Thursday proposed building new generating units and a high-voltage transmission line to serve the increasing demand for electricity in Northern Virginia, one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation.
Dominion filed two independently planned and prepared applications with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. They are:
View the SCC application for the proposed transmission line.
"Our customers in Northern Virginia need reliable electricity for their long-term needs," said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion president and chief executive officer. "Schools, hospitals, airports, defense and Internet facilities must have reliable energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
New generation at Ladysmith
Dominion anticipated the potential need for more generation at Ladysmith, designing the site for five units. The first two 150-megawatt units began providing electricity in 2001 just prior to the peak demand summer season. Based on timely regulatory approval and necessary permits, the facility is expected to be in operation by August 2008.
Dominion issued a request last November for either 300 megawatts of new peaking capacity or demand-side management programs for Northern Virginia. The company decided to build the units itself after reviewing all the bids.
Ladysmith Power Station occupies approximately 291 acres in Caroline County alongside Interstate 95. The area for the new units was cleared and graded during initial construction. The natural gas for the units comes from a pipeline that passes through the property.
New 500-kilovolt transmission line
The proposed 65-mile route for the transmission line is within or adjacent to an existing transmission power line corridor in Warren, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Fauquier, Prince William and Loudoun counties. Locating this new line within or adjacent to the existing right of way provides the least overall impact of any of the viable transmission alternatives studied. Constructing a new line on a new corridor across undisturbed lands would create a completely new and separate impact in Northern Virginia.
Where it is necessary to widen the existing right of way in Rappahannock, Culpeper and Fauquier counties, it will need to be widened no more than 125 feet. No new right of way is required in Prince William or Loudoun counties. In some areas, the company will replace existing lattice-style transmission towers with single-pole towers.
Dominion examined many alternatives to meet the growing demand for energy, including reducing consumption through conservation. However, an independent study by KEMA, an internationally recognized power engineering firm in Burlington, Mass., confirmed that the only practical solution to alleviate overloaded transmission lines in the summer of 2011 and avoid "rolling blackouts" is to build the transmission line. The KEMA study is part of the application.
"KEMA found that Dominion would have to establish an energy conservation program in Northern Virginia that would reduce the region’s electric load by almost half to remove the need for the line," Farrell said. "We will continue to encourage our customers to use energy wisely, but to expect this much conservation in four years is clearly not reasonable."
Electric demand in Northern Virginia has grown by about 40 percent over the last decade and is projected to grow by another 8 percent by 2011. Six counties – Loudoun, Spotsylvania, Culpeper, Stafford, King George and Prince William – are among the 100 fastest-growing counties, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported. This region was the only part of Dominion’s service area in which the company had to reduce voltage during the summer 2005 peak to maintain the system and was included in a voltage reduction warning during the all-time peak of 19,375 megawatts set Aug. 3, 2006.
Along with increased demand from residential construction, proposed projects in the region include the addition of 22,000 employees at Fort Belvoir, the $3.4 billion expansion of Washington-Dulles International Airport, the $4 billion extension of Metrorail and a number of energy-intensive computer data centers.
PJM Interconnection, which operates the transmission system in Virginia, 12 other Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia, likened the increase in demand on the Dominion system to adding approximately 1 million new houses over the next five years.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a portfolio of more than 26,300 megawatts of generation. Dominion serves retail energy customers in 11 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at http://www.dom.com.
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|Media:||Jim Norvelle, (804) 771-6115|
|Analysts:||Joe O'Hare, (804) 819-2156|