Dominion Virginia Power includes Bluestone River Wind Farm

A five-year investment plan released Wednesday by Dominion Virginia Power includes preliminary development funds for the proposed Bluestone River Wind Farm in Tazewell County.

Dominion President and Chief Executive Officer Paul D. Koonce said the company plans to invest $7.6 billion over the next five years for new power stations and other electric infrastructure to meet growing demand, including wind power sites in Virginia.

The five-year plan includes some development funds for the proposed wind turbines farm in Tazewell County, company spokesman David Botkins said.

"The Bluestone River Wind Farm in Tazewell County is something we consider to be a viable long-term project," Botkins said. "The five-year spending plan includes some development funds for renewable projects, including wind energy development in Tazewell (County), but it doesn’t include the construction funding."

Botkins said the preliminary development funding for the East River Mountain wind power project includes preliminary site designs, project layouts, transmission studies, environmental studies and ongoing wind studies.

Botkins said Dominion remains committed to the development of the Bluestone River Wind Farm. "There has been no change in our overall commitment to the project," he said.

The company said the five-year plan also includes additional funding support for the new Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise County.

Construction of the 585-megawatt wind energy plant began in 2008. The project is a part of Dominion’s response to meeting a projected growth in demand for electricity of 4,000 megawatts from its customers by 2017, or enough electricity to power a million homes, according to a company press release.

The Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center is expected to be one of the cleanest power stations of its kind. The circulating fluidized bed unit at the Southwest Virginia new plant will use coal and up to 20 percent biomass for its fuel, according to the company.

A Virginia Tech economic impact study recently concluded that the plant could generate up to $440 million a year in tax revenues and other benefits for Wise County.

By Charles Owens,