Building a Bright Future Together
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, power provider to 12 electric-distribution
cooperatives, is working hard to ensure that the energy needs of its nearly half-million
consumers are satisfied, now and in the future.
The cooperative has earned a reputation in the electric utility industry as a
forward-thinking, progressive utility with innovative, creatively adroit and
environmentally sound solutions to often perplexing challenges.
One such challenge facing Old Dominions member cooperatives, and all electric
utilities today, is the issue of energy supply in a time of rapidly growing demand. To
meet this expanding demand, Old Dominion is working toward building three
"peaking" power plants: one in Rock Springs, Maryland, to serve Old
Dominions three member cooperatives on the Delmarva Peninsula; and two in Virginia,
to serve the nine member cooperatives west of the Chesapeake Bay.
These plants will be licensed to run only during periods of peak electric demand. By
owning peak generation facilities, Old Dominion can better control the price of energy to
its member cooperatives and help ensure adequate energy supplies in the future. And make
no mistake these are the most environmentally sound units available for this task.
In Rock Springs, Old Dominion has reached agreement with all parties, obtained all
necessary permits and is ready to begin construction. In Louisa County, weve
received approval from county officials and are working on securing the environmental
In Fauquier County at the Marsh Run site, were seeking local approval from,
first, the county planning commission and then ultimately, the board of supervisors.
Inevitably, some are opposed to this project, and in discussions about the facility,
several misconceptions have surfaced which I will attempt to clarify.
Old Dominion is a cooperative, so these plants are being built to benefit our member
cooperatives, not to sell electric energy for profit on the open market. If ever any
excess generation were sold it would be used to lower the cost of
energy charged to our members. As a cooperative, Old Dominion has a responsibility to
prepare for the future, and to ensure that our members lights stay on 10, 20, 30 and
more years from today.
Locating a combustion-turbine station in an area does not trigger industrial or
commercial sprawl, nor devalue surrounding property. With the conservation easements that
Old Dominion plans around these sites, hundreds of acres will be preserved
in perpetuity and will serve as an ecological buffer. The locations for these peaking
facilities were selected because they are at the juncture of natural gas and electric
Also, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is and has been closely
monitoring the potential impact of combustion-turbine facilities Old Dominion and other
power providers have planned in Virginia. To date, this analysis has revealed that the
projects, singly or in aggregate, will not cause a significant impact
on the air quality of Virginia.
And in true cooperative fashion, Old Dominion is using a creative and beneficial
approach to supply water for the Marsh Run facility. Effluent from the Remington Water
Sanitation Authoritys sewage treatment plant will be used as the source for the
Marsh Run Projects water. Using sewage effluent not only protects valuable
groundwater and surface-water resources, but use of the effluent during the Rappahannock
Rivers low-flow periods will actually reduce the concentration of effluent
pollutants entering the river when the river is most susceptable to harm.
Another misconception is that Old Dominion will build these plants, only to turn around
and sell them, or that Old Dominion and its member cooperatives might be "taken
over" or absorbed by a larger power company. Old Dominion is a
generation-and-transmission (G&T) cooperative, meaning it is owned by the 12 co-ops
that it serves. Never in the 60-years-plus history of electric cooperatives has a G&T
been absorbed, "taken over" or merged with a larger power company. That would
require that each of the 12 member cooperatives agree to sell Old Dominion. And we
wouldnt be building the plants again, were a cooperative, not a
for-profit merchant utility if we were just going to sell them after building them.
Theyre being built to serve folks like you who are member-consumers of electric
Ive also heard others claim that cooperatives are archaic. The truth is that
there are more cooperatives in all arenas of business today than ever before, and electric
cooperatives are being formed in places theyve never existed before.
Finally, the assertion that Old Dominion is insensitive to farmers and rural areas is
ludicrous. Old Dominion and electric cooperatives in general were formed by, have always
served, and are owned by the people in rural areas that nobody else wanted to serve. Old
Dominions board of directors is predominantly rural residents and farmers.
Like the distribution cooperatives that own it, Old Dominions first duty is
service to its membership. Its a mission and an idea that has
successfully passed the test of time.