Powering Southwest Virginia

Dominion Energy is exploring the potential for building a hydro-electric pumped storage facility in the coalfield region of Southwest Virginia. The project could bring thousands of construction jobs as well as a major new source of local taxes for the region. The facility would store energy from traditional sources, such as Dominion Energy’s coal-fired Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County, and as well as new ones.

Following the successful passage of legislation sponsored by Senator Ben Chafin and Delegates Terry Kilgore and Todd Pillion during the 2017 Virginia General Assembly, Governor McAuliffe approved state law which allows Virginia utilities to petition the State Corporation Commission to build pumped hydroelectric storage facilities in the Coalfields region of the Commonwealth. At least part of the energy used to power the facility must be generated by renewable resources.

How Does Pumped Hydroelectric Storage Work? 

Pumped Hydroelectric Storage Facility

Hydroelectric Storage Facility

Pumped hydroelectric storage facilities work like a giant battery, storing energy for when it is needed most. During times of low energy demand, water is pumped to an upper reservoir using lower-cost electricity from the grid. When demand for energy is high, water is released to a lower reservoir through tunnels, turning the turbines which generate electricity. The “on-demand” nature of pumped-storage means it can be called upon quickly when needed. Pumped storage works together with generation sources like coal, natural gas and solar to provide balance and reliability for the energy grid.

Our Commitment to Southwest Virginia

Virginia City Hybrid Energy CenterAerial View of Facility

  • Net generating capacity is 600-megawatts.
  • Commercial operations began July 2012.
  • Uses coal and up to 20 percent biomass (up to 537,000 tons/year) for its fuel, providing 117-megawatts.

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