Congratulations to Dominion

We’re so used to citing examples of NIMBYism, magical thinking and shortsightedness when writing about energy policy, it’s almost startling to see developments going the right way.

But so they did in Virginia this week:

RICHMOND, Va. – A state board gave final approval to Dominion Virginia Power’s proposed $1.8 billion coal-fired power plant in the far southwestern corner of the state.

The 5-0 decision on Wednesday by the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board includes conditions intended to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and mercury. It also requires Dominion to convert a coal-fired plant in central Virginia to natural gas.

The vote was the last major hurdle to construction of the 585-megawatt Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Wise, about 150 miles west of Roanoke. It is scheduled to go on line in 2012.

Dominion Virginia Power issued a statement upon the approval. The plant will have a generating capacity of 585 megawatts, enough to power about 146,000 homes. Wise County officials are pleased.

The Christian Science Monitor notes the various, what seem to us primarily political and PR-motivated restrictions the government put on the plant; Dominion also promised to burn only Virginia-derived coal.

But at least it’s an approval.

Meanwhile, here in D.C.

WASHINGTON (Map, News) – The prospect of having to endure rolling brownouts in addition to the Washington region’s already legendary traffic jams would make even Pollyanna reach for the Prozac. But that could happen in just three years unless state politicians and regulators on both sides of the Potomac approve more transmission lines to handle the Washington region’s ever-increasing thirst for electricity.

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