Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center hits 5-year anniversary
WISE COUNTY, Va. - Dominion Energy has been generating energy to put on the grid in Wise County for five years now. Chances are if you have driven much in southwest Virginia, you have seen the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center. Up to 600 trucks enter the facility in a single day, working to bring in materials to generate electricity for the power grid. "We use coal, run of the mine coal, waste coal, and biomass in the form of wood chips in our boilers to do that," Greg Edwards, who works for external affairs at the company, said. Most of the energy generated at the plant travels to the eastern part of the state. On a summer day like we're experiencing this week, Dominion generates the plant at full capacity to keep up with demand. That turns out about 610 megawatts after the power to the building is calculated. "Six-hundred ten megawatts is enough to power roughly 150,000 typical residential homes in Virginia," Edwards said. In the five years the plant has been up and running, it has generated more than half a billion dollars in direct economic impact. The company has paid around $70 million in payroll costs and more than $43 in property tax costs. Dominion officials also estimate another 350 jobs are provided by support industries like coal and trucking. Delegate Todd Pillion said, "Not only are they providing a tax base for southwest Virginia, but they're also using a local product: coal. They're also helping us to clean up our environment by burning waste coal or gob piles." The Virginia City plant isn't the only Dominion plant we could see here in the coalfields during the next decade. Pillion has been one of the local legislators working alongside the company on the potential of bringing hydro-electric pumped storage to the region. Public meetings are anticipated in the coming months on addressing those new initiatives.