Chesterfield power station

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Chesterfield power station is a 1,500-megawatt (MW) coal- and gas-fired power station near Chester, Virginia.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Virginia Electric & Power Co
  • Parent: Dominion Energy, Inc.[1]
  • Location: 500 Coxendale Rd., Chester, VA 23836
  • Coordinates: 37.382922, -77.382680
  • Gross generating capacity (operating): 1,500 MW
    • Unit 5: coal steam turbine 359 MW (start-up in 1964, retiring in 2023)[2]
    • Unit 6: coal steam turbine 694 MW (start-up in 1969, retiring in 2023)[2]
    • Unit CH7: natural gas[2] combined cycle[2] 219 MW[2] (start-up in 1990)[2]
    • Unit CH8: natural gas[2] combined cycle[2] 227 MW[2] (start-up in 1992)[2]
  • Gross generating capacity (retired): 300 MW
    • Unit 3: coal, 112.5 MW (start-up in 1952, retired in 2019)[3]
    • Unit 4: coal, 187.5 MW (start-up in 1960, retired in 2019)[3]
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption: 8,400 tons/day
  • Coal Source: Bailey Mine (Consol Energy) [4]
  • Number of Employees: +/- 200
  • Unit Retirements: Units 3 and 4 retired in 2019, Units 5 and 6 are scheduled for retirement on May 31, 2023 according to PJM.[3]

Unit Retirements

In January 2018, Dominion Energy said it plans to place nine of its older, inefficient and rarely-used power-generating units across Virginia into a dormant status, including Chesterfield.[5]

Units 3 and 4 were put on cold reserve in December 2018 and planned for retirement in 2021, according to Dominion's 2018 Integrated Resource Plan.[6] However, in March 2019 Dominion said the two units would be permanently retired by the end of the month.[7] Chesterfield Units 5 and 6 are proposed for retirement in 2023.[6]

According to an IEEFA article from October 2019 titled "Coal-fired Power Generation in Freefall Across Southeast U.S.", in 2019 Chesterfield Unit 5 was operating at an average capacity factor of 15% and unit 6 of 9%.[8]

On April 13th 2020 it was reported that the Virginia Governer Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, forcing all coal power plants in the state of Virginia to close down before the end of 2024. [9]

PJM lists units 5 and 6 with a requested retirement date of May 31, 2023.[3]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 7,766,728 tons [10]
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 64,863 tons [11]
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 8,891 tons [12]
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 360 pounds [13]

Toxic Waste Data [14]

  • Arsenic Waste: 45,100 pounds
    • Air Release: 900 pounds
    • Water Release (James River): 2,200 pounds
    • Land Release (Surface Impoundment: 42,000 pounds
  • Chromium Waste: 75,440 pounds
    • Air Release: 890 pounds
    • Water Release (James River): 550 pounds
    • Land Release (Surface Impoundment): 74,000 pounds
  • Dioxin Waste: .57 grams
    • Air Release: .57 grams
  • Lead Waste: 41,150 pounds
    • Air Release: 840 pounds
    • Water Release (James River): 310 pounds
    • Land Release (Surface Impoundment): 40,000 pounds
  • Mercury Waste: 590 pounds
    • Air Release: 330 pounds
    • Land Release (Surface Impoundment): 260 pounds
  • Nickel Waste: 75,770 pounds
    • Air Release: 1,300 pounds
    • Water Release (James River): 470 pounds
    • Land Release (Surface Impoundment): 74,000

Coal Waste Sites

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Chesterfield power station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[15] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[16]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Chesterfield power station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 94 $680,000,000
Heart attacks 140 $16,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,600 $81,000
Hospital admissions 70 $1,600,000
Chronic bronchitis 58 $26,000,000
Asthma ER visits 79 $29,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Chesterfield ranked 36th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[17] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[18]

Chesterfield Power Station ranked number 36 on the list, with 1,088,260 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[17]

EPA finds coal dam unsafe

Chesterfield Power Station is a 47-year-old unlined dam containing 44 acres of coal sludge. A 2010 inspection by an EPA contractor, "Dam Safety Assessment of CCW Impoundments: Chesterfield Power Station" revealed that the dam’s slope stability did not meet accepted criteria, and the dam “needs improvement to increase the factor of safety.” Records examined by the EPA’s inspector indicate that no regular inspections of the dam were done by the owner or state regulators from 1987 to 2009, despite the fact that plant engineers discovered and repaired a similar slope stability problem in 1987.[19]

Accidents and Negligence

  • January 16, 2006 [20]
    • A transformer blew and erupted into flames and escalated into a dangerous fire. No injuries seem to have been reported.

Litigation and Controversy

  • November 17, 2000 [21]
    • Facing a lawsuit by Northeastern states against Virginia Power and 8 other utilities companies that claim their air quality problems stem from coal fired power plants in the Southest and Ohio River Valley, Virginia Power agreed to install environmental protection equipment on 8 of its plants.
  • April 28, 2003 [22]
    • Virginia Power reached an agreement with the EPA, DOJ, and five states including New York to reduce NOx and SO2 levels by 2013.
    • Virginia Power received a notification in 2000 that they had made major modifications to their plants including Chesterfield without installing equipment that controls for emissions and pollution.
  • May 7, 2008 A flue-gas desulfurization system (called a "scrubber")was installed on the 693-megawatt Unit 6 in partial compliance with the 2003 agreement. [23]
  • July 1, 2011 [24] Dominion Virginia Power started up a $175 million scrubber on its 344-megawatt Unit 5. By year end the new scrubber system will also serve the 110-megawatt Unit 3 and 181-megawatt Unit 4. Expected emission reductions include 95 percent of sulfur dioxide, 80 percent of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, and 80 percent of mercury. (Units 1 and 2 are fueled by natural gas.)

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


  1. "LEI Search 2.0". Retrieved 2022-12-17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory (based on Form EIA-860M as a supplement to Form EIA-860) - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)". Retrieved 2022-12-14.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Generation Deactivations", accessed June 2020
  4. "EIA 923 January 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  5. "Dominion to Put 9 Power-Generating Units on Reserve Status," AP, Jan 17, 2018
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dominion 2018 Integrated Resource Plan, Dominion, Filed May 1, 2018
  7. "Dominion to retire old, coal-burning power units," Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mar 25, 2019
  8. "Coal-fired Power Generation in Freefall Across Southeast U.S.," IEEFA, October 2019, page 33
  9. "Virginia passes 100% clean power mandate", April 13, 2020
  10. "Carbon Monitoring for Action: Chesterfield Station Data". Center for Global Development.
  11. "Criteria Air Pollutants: Chesterfield Station Data". Environmental Protection Agency.
  12. "Criteria Air Pollutants: Chesterfield Station Data". Environmental Protection Agency.
  13. Environmental Protection Agency. "Toxic Release Inventory: Chesterfield Station Data". Right To Know Network.
  14. Environmental Protection Agency. "Toxic Release Inventory: Chesterfield Station Data". Right To Know Network.
  15. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  16. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  17. 17.0 17.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  18. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  19. Robert Bowers and Dana Pizarro, "Dam Safety Assessment of CCW Impoundments: Chesterfield Power Station", EPA Report by O'Brien and Gere, Sep. 29, 2010.
  20. Becky Robinette Wright (Jan. 16, 2006). "3-Alarm Fire Hits Virginia Power Plant". News. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. "Virginia Power Agrees to Cut Power Plant Pollution". LCG Consulting. Nov. 17, 2000. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  22. "Dominion Reaches Major Agreement with EPA". Dominion Power News. April 28, 2003.
  23. "Cleaner Air Results From New Equipment At Dominion's Chesterfield Power Station". Dominion Power News. May 7, 2008.
  24. Peter Bacque, "Dominion Virginia Power unveils scrubber at Chesterfield plant". Richmond Times-Dispatch. July 1, 2011.

Related articles

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