Wise County

Dominion Energy proposes 2 sites for pumped hydroelectric storage

Dominion Energy Virginia announced Thursday its next steps in moving forward with pumped hydroelectric storage in Southwest Virginia.

The company announced two potential sites for the region – a 4,100-acre site in Tazewell County and an abandoned mine in Wise County.

Dominion Energy filed a preliminary permit on Wednesday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the Tazewell location near East River Mountain. The company already owns 2,600 acres on the proposed site.

The company has contracted with Virginia Tech to study the former Bullitt Mine near Appalachia in Wise County. The mine was closed in 1997 and is currently flooded. The company proposed the mine cavity could serve as a lower reservoir.

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy researched the feasibility of sites around the region earlier this year and the former Bullitt Mine was one of the top candidates.

The application with FERC will allow Dominion Energy to perform environmental, geological, and archeological testing. The company will also determine the economics associated with the project.

The cost associated with a pumped hydroelectric storage is $2 billion. Dominion said the site is expected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue to counties in the coalfield region. Seven counties and the City of Norton have all passed local revenue-sharing agreements.

Dominion added the project will create hundreds of jobs during construction and up to 50 permanent, high-paying jobs upon completion.

The company expects to make a decision on the site by mid-2018.


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