Compliance & Disclosure
Environmental stewardship is embedded in Dominion’s culture and core values. The commitment to best practices and proactive engagement in the nation’s environmental policy debate begins with the company’s senior management team. They set the tone and the clear expectation that environmental protection is the responsibility of every Dominion employee. We are committed to working with our stakeholders to find sustainable solutions to the energy and environmental challenges that confront our company and our nation.
Compliance and Disclosure
Dominion’s operations are subject to extensive and evolving federal, state and local environmental laws, rules and regulations. We are committed to full compliance with these legal requirements, which requires significant spending for permitting, emissions fees, environmental monitoring, installation and operation of pollution control equipment, biological studies and species protection.
In addition to routine self-assessments, we periodically audit our facilities to ensure compliance with all relevant environmental rules and regulations. These audits are carried out independent of our operating or environmental staff to promote objective performance assessments.
In 2011, our environmental operating and maintenance expenses amounted to $184 million, and capital expenditures for environmental improvements were $403 million. Total environmental spending was $587 million.
Detailed discussion of the risks associated with Dominion’s environmental compliance, including potential greenhouse gas regulation, can be found in Dominion’s most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, or annual report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available on the Investors section of our website.
Dominion’s emissions data and climate change risks and opportunities are described in full in our 2011 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) report. In 2011, we participated in the CDP Water Questionnaire for the first time to share data and information about Dominion’s overall water use and risk management practices. We also added water metrics to our online environmental report and to this CSR. (See Water Withdrawals & Conservation).
New EPA Regulations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed or finalized a number of strict new air and climate regulations. In 2012 and 2013, we expect other new proposed regulations governing coal combustion byproducts and cooling water intake structures and discharges.
Dominion already has spent or has committed to spend more than $3.2 billion by 2015 to improve the environmental performance of our utility and merchant generating fleets. Our main options for complying with EPA’s new regulations are as follows:
- Retrofit or retire a number of our coal units;
- Convert these units to other fuel sources, such as natural gas or renewable biomass; and
- Add new transmission capacity; or
- Some combination of the three.
As of April 2012, Dominion had announced plans to remove from service, shut down or convert nine coal stations. These plans include two major merchant coal stations, the closure of State Line in Indiana and the removal from service of Salem Harbor in Massachusetts. Regulated units scheduled for closure include North Branch, a small utility station in West Virginia that will be retired permanently as part of the permitting process for the company’s Warren County combined cycle station now under construction; and Chesapeake Energy Center, a four-unit facility in southeastern Virginia that will be shut down by 2016. Additionally, the company plans to close another coal-fired unit and repower a second to natural gas at its Yorktown Power Station in eastern Virginia by 2015.
One of the company’s oldest coal stations, Bremo Bluff, will be converted to natural gas as a permitting condition for the new Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center located in southwest Virginia. In addition, three small utility coal stations in southern Virginia are being converted to run on renewable biomass.