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Power Plants in Virginia

After a proposed power plant has received approval from the State Corporation Commission (SCC) and location approval from the local government, it must apply for all applicable permits from DEQ. Depending on the plant, this could include permits for air, water and/or waste. Air permits that are issued to power plants undergo a very rigorous review and can take a year or more to issue depending on the size and make-up of the plant. The review includes the determination of the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for each criteria pollutant being emitted and may require a determination of the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) for Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) if the potential emissions of HAPs is over 10 tons per year (tpy) for a single HAP or 25 tpy for multiple HAPs.

In addition to control technology reviews, the source must also conduct air quality analyses. This involves running multiple computer models (simulations) to demonstrate the plant will not cause or significantly contribute to an exceedance of any of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). For most power plants, the air permit process involves multiple opportunities for public comment. Comment is usually taken either in written form or orally at a public hearing. Comments received from the public are taken into consideration pror to a permit being issued.

Power plants in Virginia use many different types of fuel including coal, nuclear, wood, biomass, distillate oil, landfill gas and natural gas. An Excel spreadsheet of basic information regarding power plants currently operating in Virginia and those going through the air permitting process is available for download. Navigational tabs on the left lead to information for some of the high-profile Virginia power plant projects that have recently received air permits or are in the process of receiving air permits.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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