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Dominion Virginia Power has placed into commercial operation its Altavista Power Station, the first of three stations to be converted from coal to biomass.

In April 2011, Dominion announced plans to spend about $165 million to convert Altavista Power Station and two similar coal-fired stations in Hopewell and Southampton County to use biomass as fuel. The conversions of the other two stations are on schedule, and they should be in commercial operation by year-end.

Dominion acquired the three power stations in 2001. They had been in operation since 1992 and used primarily to produce steam for nearby manufacturing plants and intermittently to meet the peak demand for electricity. With the biomass conversions, Dominion says it plans to operate the three 51 MW power stations continuously, providing enough electricity to serve 12,500 households.

In addition, the three biomass power stations will help Dominion Virginia Power meet Virginia's voluntary renewable energy goal of 15% by 2025.

"Today marks another achievement guided by Dominion's philosophy that balanced fuel diversity - from coal to natural gas to nuclear to renewables - leads to reasonable rates that best serve the needs and interests of customers and shareholders," says Dominion Generation CEO David A. Christian.



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