SW Virginia Coal Plant Faces Early Closure

Virginia officials must begin planning for Wise County and power plant closures, reveals report

WISE COUNTY, Va. — On Dec. 15,, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis released a report shedding light on Dominion Energy’s costly coal-fired Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise Co, Va., and its likely early closure. The report, entitled Virginia Coal Plant’s Future Isn’t Bright: Preparation for Transition Should Commence Now, finds that the plant operates significantly below its full capacity at a hefty cost to ratepayers, and that its closure will have significant economic impacts on the surrounding communities in Southwest Virginia. The power plant currently provides approximately $8.5 million in tax revenue to Wise County, and employs approximately 153 people.

“The ongoing energy transition happening in Virginia and beyond must be leveraged to provide significant re-investment in the people and communities that are most impacted,” said Chelsea Barnes, New Economy Program Manager at Appalachian Voices. “State and local officials need to plan now for the likely closure of the Wise County coal plant, and that has to start with transparency from Dominion and other utilities.”  

In September, data presented during a State Corporation Commission proceeding regarding Dominion’s proposed Integrated Resource Plan revealed that Dominion has used the Wise County plant less and less over the years, even before the pandemic, and that it will cost ratepayers $472 million more than it’s worth as a resource over the next 10 years if it continues operation. 

Appalachian Voices is supporting legislation in the 2021 Virginia General Assembly session to require transparency regarding expected power plant closures to local officials and state agencies to assist in planning for a just energy transition. The organization has had an office in Wise County since 2015 focused on supporting the coalfield counties in adapting to the declining coal industry. 

Courtesy Article. Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.

Exterior view of the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center by Hansellts is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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