Environmental Impact

heron in the water

The Cove Point export project will have the smallest environmental footprint for a facility of its kind. The project will be built within the existing footprint. Its greenhouse gas emissions will be about the same as from a mid-sized natural gas-fired power station – just as the many being built in Maryland and across the nation. The facility will make use of the pier, existing tanks and other infrastructure put in place for when Cove Point was built to import natural gas nearly 40 years ago.

  • Dominion Energy obtained 50 permits or approvals from federal, state and local agencies needed to begin construction.
  • The U.S. Energy Department approved the project after a detailed review. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Maryland Public Service Commission, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Power Plant Research Program, the Maryland Department of the Environment and Calvert County are in the process of rigorous environmental reviews.
  • The project will be the first facility of its kind to use waste heat to generate its electricity.
  • Wastewater from the new facility will be recycled.

Environmental Stewardship Initiatives

At Cove Point, we have an extensive conservation management plan. The site itself encompasses 1,000 acres, but nearly 90 percent of it remains pristine thanks to our environmental stewardship efforts. Nearby freshwater marshlands provide protected homes for several insects, amphibians and plants. We also use local, native plants in our landscaping so that we don't have to irrigate them.

The offshore platform is accessible from the facility through an underwater tunnel. When constructed, Cove Point worked with the environmental community to place the tunnel underwater and underground so it would reduce any impact on the Chesapeake Bay. Personnel use bicycles to travel back and forth to the offshore platform.

Protection of Plants and Animals

Dominion Energy is working with the environmental community to promote research and maintain endangered plants and animals in and around the property.

  • The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Energy, awarded a $25,000 grant to the Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) to expand its oyster restoration project in the Patuxent River, not far from Cove Point. This was the largest single project grant in the 14-year history of CCA MD, a non-profit organization of 1,800-plus recreational anglers and other conservation-minded citizens. The $25,000 grant has been used to establish a spat-on-shell restoration project in two Calvert County creeks that feed into the Patuxent River.
  • In March, 2008, Dominion Energy and other supporters of the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) christened what will be its largest project, the Dominion Reef at the Gooses, by placing oyster shell and oysters on the reef. The MARI steering committee agreed to name the reef after Dominion Energy in recognition of the energy company's support of the project.

    Dominion Energy also funded the placement of about 75 tons of shell and about 25 bushels of oysters on the reef, with the goal of providing the new ecosystem a jump start. The oysters and shell were spread over a select portion of the 80-acre, man-made reef. Later that year, we had the reef seeded with juvenile oysters, called oyster spat.
  • Dominion Energy is a member of the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust, a unique partnership with the Sierra Club and the Maryland Conservation Council. This Trust has ensured the environmental preservation of a significant portion of the more than one thousand acres owned by Dominion Energy Cove Point. The site includes one of the premier freshwater wetlands on the East Coast. It is designed to blend in and preserve the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay.

"Green" Administration Building

The administration building was constructed in 2007 in accordance with standards set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system for green buildings that was developed by the US Green Building Council. 

  • The building's location was chosen to avoid impacting wetlands and to maintain open space.  Its lighting avoids "Light Pollution" so that nocturnal species are undisturbed and people can see the stars.
  • More than 24 percent of the materials, such as bricks, windows and cement, used in this building were produced locally and more than 85 percent of the waste material was recycled rather than sent to a landfill.
  • This building uses 32 percent less energy than a typical office building and the plumbing fixtures in the restrooms use 40 percent less water than in a typical building.