Dominion Virginia Power is celebrating the formal opening of its Bear Garden Power Station in Buckingham County. Governor Bob McDonnell joined Dominion executives and local officials Friday for the dedication of the natural gas-fired power station.
The ribbon cutting at Dominion's Bear Garden Power Station came three months after the plant went online churning out power through a hot summer.
Diane Leopold of Dominion said, "Bear Garden and its employees have played a key role in helping us keep air conditioners humming this summer."
The natural gas-fired plant sits just off the James River in Buckingham County and can create enough electricity to power about 145,000 homes. It burns cleaner than traditional coal-fired plants.
Governor McDonnell says the power plant is about much more than cooling down our homes this summer. He says it's also about heating up Virginia's economy. "Diversifying the fuel portfolio I think is important," he said.
Governor McDonnell reiterated his push for more domestic energy production including a wide range of projects in Virginia.
At its peak, the Bear Garden project created 700 jobs. McDonnell says all that investment will help Virginia's economy. "It really is about jobs and about a longer term view of making Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast," he said.
Dominion invested $619 million in the project and the company will pay at least $1 million a year in taxes to Buckingham County.
McDonnell says the infusion of cash was critical during the worst of the recession. "In this last couple years the investments have really made a big difference," he stated.
Buckingham supervisors say this project was a long time coming; it took 11 years of planning alone. But they say they're especially proud that no taxpayer dollars were invested in the project.