Dominion’s environmental investment program began in the 1990s and has produced significant improvements in air quality – with more benefits still to come.
Our Commitment to Improved Air Quality
Since 1998, we have made major strides in reducing the environmental footprint of our electric generating fleet. By 2015, we will have invested more than $2 billion to achieve significant improvements in air quality from our regulated utility fleet as follows:
- Sulfur dioxide (SO2): 94 percent reduction (emissions per unit of output) from 2000 levels
- Nitrogen oxide (NOx): 85 percent reduction
- Mercury: 95 percent reduction
Sulfur dioxide is a precursor of acid rain and soot, nitrogen oxide is a component of ground-level ozone and a main ingredient of smog, and mercury is a heavy metal that can accumulate in the tissues of wildlife and humans after depositing in our waters and soils.
Landmark Agreement with the EPA
2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of a unique and far-reaching collaboration between the U.S. EPA and Dominion to reduce air emissions from the company’s utility coal fleet.
While numerous other electric utilities chose to fight EPA air pollution rules, Dominion decided to work with the agency and exceed what the law required in 2003 regarding SO2 and NOx emission levels. At the time of the accord, it was the biggest environmental commitment ever made by a Virginia-based corporation.
As part of the agreement, Dominion committed to invest about $1.2 billion over 10 years to reduce emissions at eight of our coal stations in Virginia and West Virginia – at little or no cost to our customers.
This proactive collaboration with EPA was a major environmental success story that demonstrates what can be achieved when effective regulation partners with creativity, technological innovation and responsible environmental stewardship.
Meeting the Challenge of New Regulations
We face challenging compliance windows for various proposed new and stricter EPA regulations covering greenhouse gases and other air emissions.
Our main options for complying with EPA’s new regulations will be to retrofit or retire a number of our coal units, convert them to other fuel sources, such as natural gas or renewable biomass, and add new transmission capacity, or build new low- or no-emissions power generation, such as nuclear, natural gas, wind and solar (See Stewardship).
Cove Point LNG Project
Dominion is proposing to build facilities for exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its existing Cove Point LNG Terminal located on the Chesapeake Bay in Lusby, Md. (See Public Policy).
The high-efficiency design of the liquefaction facility would help to minimize the environmental impact of the LNG export operations. Waste heat would be used to create steam for the generation of electric power for use on site. Process gas would be used to fuel the facility instead of flaring it to the atmosphere, thereby reducing emissions.