GATE CITY, TN (WJHL) – The Virginia Delegation and General Assembly recently passed legislation that will allow a hydroelectric storage station to be built in southwest Virginia.
Since legislation passed, Dominion Energy spokesperson Dan Genest, said it has been scouting out areas to build one of these stations.
“We are looking at the coal region. Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, Wise and the city of Norton,” Genest said.
The storage stations work by connecting two bodies of water. One is at a high elevation, the other at a low elevation.
The bodies of water are connected by a series of tubes that host turbines and generators.
When electricity is needed, the water is let out of the upper reservoir and flows past the turbines and generators to produce electricity.
“At night time when we don’t need the electricity, we can use other sources of energy to pump it back up to the upper reservoir. So in a essence that upper reservoir works as a battery,” Genest explained.
Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore says building a station would be a win-win for the economy.
“It would bring a lot of investment. These things cost over a billion dollars. A lot of tax base for our region, a lot of construction jobs well over a thousand or 1,500 construction jobs, plus fifty or more permanent jobs that pay an average $80,000 to $90,000 a year,” Kilgore said.
He said this will not be a replacement for coal.
“Coal is still going to be part of the plan, gas is really part of the energy delivery services of the Commonwealth. So it’s going to be all of the above and that’s what it should be,” he said.
Kilgore said he hopes this is just the beginning for renewable energy in the area.
“We’re hoping when Dominion builds one that they’ll see the need an build another because they’re a growing utility. They’re facing a lot of demand for electricity up in other parts of the state so we hope that this will be just the start,” he said.
The legislation will become law on July first.
Once a few locations are narrowed down, there will be public hearings. Once construction begins, it will take seven to ten years to complete.
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