RICHMOND, Va., July 3, 2003 — Dominion Energy placed a 550-MW combined-cycle unit into commercial operation Tuesday at its Possum Point Power Station in Northern Virginia.
The unit, which operates primarily on natural gas, will play a significant role in helping improve the region’s air quality while providing reliable energy.
“Combined-cycle units are more efficient and they produce significantly less air emissions than coal-fired units,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, president and chief executive officer. “This unit will help us meet the growing need for electricity among our customers, especially now, just as the summer’s heat arrives.”
A combined-cycle unit consists of two conventional combustion turbines and a steam turbine. Forced air, superheated by natural gas, turns the combustion turbines to generate electricity. Their exhaust heat is captured and used by the steam turbine to generate electricity. By using exhaust heat to generate electricity, combined-cycle units convert more of the fuel to electricity and produce fewer emissions than comparably sized conventional units.
Compared to a similarly sized new coal-fired unit, the combined-cycle unit will produce about 82 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions and 92 percent less sulfur dioxide emissions. Nitrogen oxide reacts with sunlight on hot summer days to form ground-level ozone or smog.
Dominion began construction of the $370 million project in April 2000.
The company also has completed the conversion of Possum Point Units 3 and 4 from coal to natural gas. The conventional combustion turbine units, which have a combined capacity of 336 megawatts, will be used primarily to supply electricity on extremely hot days in the summer and very cold days in the winter. The cost of the conversion was about $12 million.
Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers of energy, with a portfolio consisting of 24,000 megawatts of generation, 6.1 trillion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas reserves, 7,900 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline and more than 960 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. Dominion also serves 5 million retail energy customers in nine states. Additional information about Dominion is available on the Internet at www.dom.com.