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Coal plant benefits Southwest Virginia

By Megan Brantley,
Published On: Sep 27 2012 05:06:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 28 2012 04:25:28 PM CDT

Dominion Power Company cut the ribbon today to their new facility that has been open in southwest Virginia since July. This plant is said to bring in lots of jobs to the area, helping local coal miners.

ST. PAUL, Va. -

The Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center is bringing a little hope to the Southwest Virginia area by adding much-needed jobs to the coal industry.

"Working here at the facility we have about 85 people and will eventually employ about 100 people here. Studies done by Virginia Tech say it'll create 500 jobs in the region," said CEO of Dominion, Tom Farrell.

However, it will not be for people just in the plant. "Hundreds and hundreds of people that will benefit indirectly from coal miners to transportation officials, to other people in the rail industry," said Governor Bob McDonnell.

Farrell tells News 5 that they are looking for local coal miners who have been laid off to give these jobs to.

The Hybrid Center will use 2.85 million tons of coal a year. Farrell says that he is keeping to his word that most of the coal will be from Southwest Virginia. "Most of it and we're burning gob coal, a lot of gob coal and waste that's left hanging around in large piles in this part of the state," said Farrell.

We learned that 'gob coal' is left over from other mining activity that Farrell tells us would otherwise end up in the water system. "We're going to be doing this for 60 years, long period of time, that process will clean up the environment here," said Farrell.

Farrell told News 5 that there are no chances for this plant to change from using coal to natural gas.

We also learned that Wise County and St. Paul would receive annual property tax payments of about $6 million.