Ground-Breaking for Power Plant in Fluvanna

On Saturday, the groundbreaking ceremony was held in Fluvanna for Tenaska‘s gas-burning power plant. The 885 megawatt plant will generate enough power for 850,000 homes, employ 25-30 people and, combined with the planned Buckingham plant, require as much as 100 million gallons of water per day. The plant, approved by Fluvanna’s Planning Commission in June of 2001, is scheduled to be operational in 2004. Austin Graham has the story in Sunday’s Daily Progress.

8 thoughts on “Ground-Breaking for Power Plant in Fluvanna”

  1. To quote a previous post:

    Our governor gave the keynote address at Tenaska’s groundbreaking in Fluvanna. That’s the power plant that people have been actively protesting. One of their primary concerns was that the power plant will stress their groundwater rosources (the area has been a development explosion recently). I don’t understand exactly how much would be used or for what, but the multiple ecologists in my family are in a rage, I can tell you. Up to now I’ve been a fan of Warner’s efforts, but this seems like a serious back-pedal.

    Followup: I called my ecologist grandfather and he confirmed that massive quantites of water are used for cooling as someone stated earlier.

  2. What happens to the water once it’s done being used? If it’s all (or mostly) used for cooling, couldn’t most of it be recycled or returned to its source? I ask because if it’s consumption rate really is that high, it seems like it would have water trouble whether there was a drought or not, unless it recycles the water it uses. Anyone have any answers on this?

  3. Lars mentioned in another thread, correctly, that the now *warm to hot* water is dumped back into the river. So even though it’s being put back into the river, it kills a stretch of river at the same time. This can be seen on the James where Bremo dumps it’s hot water back in. The river heads downstream towards Richmond. I’m unfamiliar with Fluvanna’s water system, so I can’t tell if this water ends back up in their supply or just goes it’s merry way downstream (do they get their water from the river?) I’m also not sure what the Tenaska plant plans to do with it’s used water, though.

  4. This is misleading. Powerplants use a closed loop system, in which water is superheated under pressure to create steam, the steam drives turbines, and it is then condensed and re-used.

    The steam is cooled by sucking water from an external source (river, lake, UVA swimming pool) and using it as a cooling medium. It is then sent back to where it came from, just slightly warmer.

    In fact, the discharge area where the warmer water comes back in usually makes for great fishing, as bass and other warm water fish are drawn to the areas, especially in the fall.

    So, the plant may have a voracious appetite of water, but keep in mind that 99.9% of it is either re-used to dumped back into the lake or river.

  5. Yeah, clearly life adapts to the extra heat in the river, all will be fine, I’d be afraid if they were contaminating the water though. I think the smell is just from strange heat loving bacteria. Perhaps thats also part of the good fishing, the fish eat alge or bacteria or whatnot.

    Although, if they draw the water out of the ground instead of out of the river it could easily dry wells out in the vicinity. And send all the water OUT of the county, instead of allowing it to settle in the water shed. Use doesnt mean abuse, but it always means use, it could be used someplace else instead. Or not, depending if you want toilets that flush or lights that work.

  6. The cooling water will be discharged into Cunningham Creek. It will then flow down to the Rivanna and eventually the James. Cunningham Creek is a tiny creek that will never be the same once this massive amount of water starts being discharged into the creek on a daily basis. Hopefully, the water will have cooled down to the required 3 degrees above ambient temperatures, but…

  7. The water will be drawn from the James River and piped many miles to the plant. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that they would either use the same pipe to return the water to the river or have a second pipe for return of the water as well. I do know that Tenaska has purchased land (or easement rights) in Buckingham County to build a reservoir to hold a large amount of water. I am unclear as to the purpose of the reservoir, but think that it is either a back up source of water to use in times of drought or a holding location to cool the water before it is pumped back into the James. I also heard that there would be a lagoon or lake constructed near the plant to hold a quantity of water.

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