Dominion Virginia Power is taking a tepid approach towards planning its future generating units, as evidenced by its submission this week of its 2015 integrated resource plan to the State Corporation Commission.
As such, it claims it is in a “transitory” phase that will rely on natural gas as a “stop gap” measures as it waits to see what will happen with proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules on reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
To that end, it plans on building a new $1.3 billion natural gas plant in the Greensville County area and rely on shifting coal units at Chesterfield Power Station (the state’s largest single air polluter) to gas and also at a few other spots. The new gas plant will generate 1,600 megawatts.
The other news in the submission is that wind is out as far as Dominion is concerned. It has dumped a small prototype project off of Virginia Beach claiming that cost estimates came in at double the original $230 million or so for 12 megawatts of power.
Solar gets more respect – such as adding up to 4,000 of solar-based megawatts for about $4.3 billion.
What’s truly puzzling is that Dominion apparently says that a third nuclear unit at North Anna would run $7.2 billion. It is the first time, I’ve ever seen any figure from them and it seems very much low-balled. The Sierras Club puts its price as higher than $10 billion.
A case in point is Southern Company’s Vogtle plant in Georgia, which is adding two nukes to two existing ones. It has had cost overruns of about $4billion. The early estimates were about $7 billion each for the two reactor units. So, what will North Anna Three really cost?
And, by the way, for all penny-pinching conservatives out there who believe that government handouts are totally wrong, they only give you a fraction of the story. The federal government is putting up $6.5 billion on loan guarantees for the project. This would be on top of the billions over billions of dollars the feds have put into nuke power since the days of the Manhattan Project. One hears much whining on this blog about how it is utterly foolish to subsidize renewables in any way.
A couple of last points.
Dominion is hot-to-trot to build its controversial $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Yet the new Greensville gas plant can easily be served by the existing Transco pipeline. If that’s true, why is it so urgent for an entirely new pipeline that will run past in the general area? Dominion insists this is not the case, but I can’t get the idea out of my head that ACP gas is for exports. If so, why are we mucking up bucolic Nelson County so some multi-nationals can scarf up some bucks or Euros or yuan or yen so Mumbai had have more power?
Also, I haven’t gone through the Dominion report line by line, but it seems that it is devoid of any emotional hysteria that one often sees from opponents of renewable power.
If so, then why was it so absolutely urgent in the last General Assembly for Dominion to ram through a bill that relieves them from SCC audits for five years? I still cannot figure what that was all about.
Industrial groups, supported by Dominion, made a boogy man of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which, in truth, is just a draft. We should know later this year what the real rules will be.
Where’s the hysteria now? And remember, folks, when you read this, remember that I am free of any monetary sponsorship by Dominion.