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Dominion Energy Narrows Search for Proposed SW VA Pumped Storage Project to Tazewell Site

  • Feasibility studies of Tazewell County site continue
  • Over 2,000 jobs could be brought to coalfields during 10-year development & construction phase
The Bath County pumped storage station.

Dominion Energy Virginia continues to evaluate construction of a proposed pumped hydroelectric storage power station at a site in Tazewell County.

Dominion Energy will spend the remainder of this year and part of next conducting more extensive surveys of an East River Mountain site in Tazewell County. These studies will include the examination of potential water sources in the area, beginning with an investigation of Wolf Creek in Bland County.

“Based on our research thus far, we are encouraged about the potential for the Tazewell site to support a pumped storage facility,” said Dominion Energy’s Mark Mitchell, vice president – Generation Construction.

The company plans to expand its search for a reliable water source to fill and maintain the station’s two reservoirs. A previous investigation focused on a flooded coal mine in Amonate, but the amount of water was determined to be inadequate.

According to a study by Richmond-based firm Chmura Economics & Analytics, a 10-year development and construction window could bring more than 2,000 jobs to Southwest Virginia and could create nearly $320 million in total economic impact for the region, along with about $12 million annually in tax revenue for local governments.

Pumped hydroelectric storage stations store kinetic energy in the form of water. When electricity is in high demand, water is released from an upper to a lower reservoir through tunnels, spinning turbines to produce electricity. At times when energy demand is low, the water is pumped back into the upper reservoir to be stored until additional generation may be needed. The “on-demand” nature of pumped storage technology makes it an appealing resource, because it complements the use of intermittent energy sources like renewables.

Pumped storage technology is not a new concept for the Virginia-based utility. Dominion Energy operates a 3,000-megawatt pumped storage station in Bath County. It is the largest of its kind in the United States, with the capability of powering about 750,000 homes. At full capacity, it produces more energy than the Hoover Dam. Dominion Energy owns the Bath County facility jointly with several other utilities.

Dominion Energy has also determined that it will not pursue a similar, but smaller project it had been studying at an abandoned coal mine site in Wise County.  The decision not to pursue the former Bullitt Mine, located near the town of Appalachia, was based on analysis of the site by the Virginia Center for Coal & Energy Research. The review indicated that the Bullitt Mine is not suitable for a utility-scale pumped storage project.

For more information about the proposed pumped storage project in Southwest Virginia, please visit: www.dominionenergy.com/poweringswva.

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