North Branch Station

From Global Energy Monitor

North Branch Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Dominion near Gormania, West Virginia.

The power station was retired in 2012.[1]

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2010: Dominion proposes closing North Branch for approval of new natural gas plant

In a December 2010 accord reached with the National Park Service and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Dominion volunteered to close its North Branch Power Station when the proposed natural gas-fired Warren County Power Station near Front Royal begins commercial operations, which is scheduled for late 2014 or early 2015. Emissions reductions credits from closing the station will be combined with various other offsets to be applied as the emission mitigation plan for the new power station. The agreement is conditioned upon the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board's approval of the air permit for the proposed station, other regulatory approvals and the construction and operation of the proposed station. The air board is expected to vote on Dominion's application for the Warren County air permit at its Dec. 17, 2010 meeting. The company anticipates seeking permission from the Virginia State Corporation Commission in 2011 to build the new power station.[2]

North Branch was put in cold reserve status in August 2010, and has not been generating electricity. Without this agreement, the station could be returned to service in a short time if needed.[2]

The power station was retired in 2012.[3]

Plant Data

  • Owner: Dominion Virginia Power
  • Parent Company: Dominion
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 80 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 80 MW (1992)
  • Location: 2000 Energy Way, Gormania, WV 26720
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.261602, -79.331152
  • Electricity Production: 563,070 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 771,565 tons (2006)
  • SO2 Emissions: 519 tons (2002)
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • NOx Emissions: 694 tons (2002)
  • Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from North Branch 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.[4] 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.[5]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the North Branch Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 5 $38,000,000
Heart attacks 8 $930,000
Asthma attacks 83 $4,000
Hospital admissions 4 $93,000
Chronic bronchitis 3 $1,400,000
Asthma ER visits 4 $2,000

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

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