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Utility’s Investments Expected to Generate $10B, Support 11,900 Jobs Per Year

By John Reid Blackwell, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Investments in energy projects by Dominion Resources Inc. ranging from new natural gas plants to offshore wind energy are expected to generate about $10 billion in economic activity in the state over the next six years, according to a study commissioned by the energy company.

The study, released today, says the company’s capital investments will support an average of about 11,900 jobs per year in the state for six years.

The study analyzed projects to be built by Dominion Virginia Power, the Dominion business unit providing electric service to more than 2.4 million retail customers in the state, and by Dominion Transmission, the Dominion subsidiary that constructs and operates natural gas storage facilities and interstate transmission pipelines.

It looks at the impact of two natural gas-fired power stations — the Brunswick Power Station now under construction and the Greensville Power Station scheduled to be under construction by mid-2016.

The study also analyzed the impact of the company’s planned solar and off-shore wind electric generation facilities, along with multiple projects to improve the company’s electric transmission lines and convert overhead electric lines to underground lines.

It included environmental projects, and the 280-mile Virginia portion of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

“Our growing commonwealth requires an expanding and reliable energy infrastructure,” Paul Koonce, chief executive officer of Dominion’s energy infrastructure group and president of Dominion Virginia Power, said in a statement.

“Our capital investment program over the next six years is designed to meet that need and achieve environmental goals related to the federal clean power plan,” he said. “We are very pleased that in doing so it will create a huge economic and jobs impact in Virginia.”

Dominion spokesman David Botkins said  the projects included in the study are in various stages of development. “They are either on the drawing board, or they are actively in the midst of being constructed,” he said. “The purpose of this study is to look at everything in totality.”

Dominion’s actual direct spending on construction will be about $5.7 billion, according to the study conducted by Chmura Economics & Analytics, a research firm in Richmond. An additional $4.4 billion in economic activity will be produced as the effects of that construction spending spread into the retail and services sectors of the economy.

From 2015 to 2020, the projects will directly employ about 6,400 people per year, according to the study. An additional 5,500 jobs per year in other sectors of the economy will be supported by the projects. That means the projects will have a total average of 11,900 jobs per year over the six-year period.

Dominion said the construction program would support a cumulative total of about 71,500 jobs over six years. The study defines cumulative jobs as the number of full-time positions supported for one year, so one worker employed for six years is equivalent to six jobs.

Dominion could not provide precise information Monday on how the next six years of capital spending compares to the company’s spending in the previous six years. But the amount is comparable, a spokesman said.