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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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Dominion eyes alternate site for Chesterfield gas plant

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024   

Dominion Energy is eyeing a new site for a natural gas plant in Chesterfield.

Documents show the company is considering the recently closed Chesterfield Power Station site. Dominion sent a letter to Chesterfield County officials requesting the county complete the Local Governing Body Certification Form and Site Suitability and Value forms for the site.

Mason Manley, central Virginia organizer for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said the county's response shows using the new site means a local zoning decision may not be necessary.

"Because this coal plant has been operating on this site before, it's already zoned correctly for electricity generation," Manley pointed out. "Which means that there's no zoning case at the county level for community members to fight, so they wouldn't need the zoning."

The project faces other hurdles, including getting an air permit from the Department of Environmental Quality, and final approval from the State Corporation Commission. Though it was originally proposed in 2019, it's been in limbo due to a corruption lawsuit and the enactment of the Clean Economy Act, which requires Dominion to use 100% renewable electricity by 2045.

The plant is not being built to provide additional power for Chesterfield but to handle data center growth in Northern Virginia. Residents, environmental groups, and Central Virginia lawmakers worry about the health and economic impacts of this plant.

Manley said Dominion's Integrated Resource Plan undercuts their commitment to increasing climate-friendly electricity generation.

"Dominion is at all costs trying to get these gas-peaking plants to be a part of their IRP, regardless of the climate harm that we know would result from the life cycle emissions of these plants across extraction transmission along pipelines, wellhead compressor stations," Manley asserted.

Dominion, meanwhile, is continuing with the Coastal Virginia offshore wind farm. Once active, it will generate more than 2.5 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 660,000 homes. Reports show adopting more renewable energy can cover data centers' exorbitant power demands.

Disclosure: The Chesapeake Climate Action Network contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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