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istration reported last year that natural gas provided 34 percent of the total electricity generation in the country, surpassing coal to become the leading generation source.


The case for the ACP With a 48 percent interest, Dominion


is the lead partner in the ACP along with Duke Energy, 47 percent; and Southern Co. Gas, 5 percent. The partners extol the economic development gains they say would come from the pipeline: a total of 17,240 jobs during construction, $2.7 billion in overall economic impact and an average of $4.2 million annually in tax revenues to local governments along the three-state route. The pipeline would cross three states


(see map on page 26) and deliver up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day to natural- gas customers in Virginia and North Carolina. Matt Yonka, president of the Virginia


State Building and Construction Trades, an organization that represents union construction trades throughout the state, says about 8,800 of those jobs would be in Virginia. The construction would require welders, electricians, pipefitters and industrial equipment operators. “They will bring in their supervision,” he says of the pipeline developers, “and then they will hire local Virginians who work through us.”


Once the pipeline begins operation,


one survey claims, it would support about 1,300 permanent jobs in Virginia, including positions that could materialize from increased manufacturing, a number opponents dispute. While Dominion would operate it,


subsidiaries of the partners and others would use the ACP, with 92 percent of the capacity subscribed, says Leopold. “We knew there was going to be some opposition,” she says. “Our focus is on getting it done to meet the urgent public need, to protect public safety and to do it environmentally responsibly.” Leopold says the origins for the ACP came in 2014 when Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas requested propos- als for a pipeline because of natural gas constraints in the state. In eastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia, “there are constraints today in being able to heat the homes, let alone building new homes or


www.VirginiaBusiness.com VIRGINIA BUSINESS 27


businesses in the area,” says Leopold. “So that’s the first piece of public need.” A second driver was stricter federal


regulations on power plant emissions of mercury and other toxic metals. Although shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, the new rules prompted energy companies to update or close coal-fired plants. The Clean Power Plan under Obama’s administration also called for reduced carbon emissions. While that plan appears to be dead, Dominion officials anticipate future national and state energy policy to include limitations


on greenhouse gas emissions. In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has directed the state to come up with regula- tions reducing carbon emissions from power plants by December. The upshot of the movement to


lower carbon emissions: the building of more natural gas-fired plants. In the past four years, Dominion Energy has closed several coal-fired units and brought more than 3,000 megawatts of gas production on line. It already has opened three natu- ral gas-fired plants in Virginia and will add another 1,500 megawatts of natural


Know what’s below.


Always call 811 or go online before digging to have your underground utilty lines marked.


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