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VIRGINIA POWER SIGNS SCRUBBER CONTRACT

 VIRGINIA POWER SIGNS SCRUBBER CONTRACT
 RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Virginia Power today signed a


contract for a scrubber that will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from the utility's Mount Storm, W.Va., plant by as much as 50,000 tons annually.
 The scrubber is the largest single environmental project in Virginia Power's history. Because prevailing winds carry much of Mount Storm's emissions eastward, installation of the scrubber is expected to improve air quality in Virginia, especially in environmentally sensitive areas such as Shenandoah National Park.
 "This is an extremely important decision for both the company and the commonwealth of Virginia," said James T. Rhodes, Virginia Power president and chief executive officer. "Our announcement of this scrubber is proof of our continuing commitment to the federal Clean Air Act, the environment and the energy needs of our 1.8 million customers."
 The scrubber project is expected to cost about $140 million, including the cost of the contract with General Electric Environmental Systems Inc. and other site improvements that will be required. The device is scheduled to begin operating by Jan. 1, 1995; the federal Clean Air Act amendments passed in 1990 require Mount Storm and 110 other power plants to reduce substantially their sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by that date to comply with Phase I of the act.
 Scrubbers use a chemical process to remove SO2 from a plant's flue gas. A mixture of finely ground limestone and water is sprayed in to a vessel through which the gas flows. The limestone absorbs SO2 to form a waste product, calcium sulfate. Current plans call for the waste to be buried in a reclaimed mining area, but the material can be recycled into gypsum wallboard if conditions improve in construction markets.
 Under the Clean Air Act, Virginia Power could have avoided building the scrubber by purchasing allowances from other utilities. Under that system, the company would have paid other utilities to discharge less than their allowable limits of pollution from their plants; in effect, offsetting the emissions from Mount Storm that exceed Phase I limits. Virginia Power, however, rejected this option, in part, because of the uncertain nature of the allowance market.
 "The scrubber decision was good from an economic standpoint -- as well as an environmental one," said John A. Ahladas, Virginia Power senior vice president-corporate services. "The installation of the scrubber to comply with Phase I requirements was our most cost-effective alternative and the reduction provides better assurances of improved air quality."
 In addition, Virginia Power will be reducing nitrogen oxide emissions at Mount Storm as part of its Clean Air Act compliance plan.
 The contract gives Virginia Power the option to purchase two additional scrubbers from GEES Inc. of Norcross, Ga., a subsidiary of General Electric, for Mount Storm installation by Jan. 1, 2000, the date that Phase II of the Clean Air Act goes into effect.
 The three-unit Mount Storm plant generates approximately 1,600 megawatts of electricity, or enough electricity to power 400,000 homes, and is located about 60 miles west of Winchester, Va.
 -0- 1/7/92
 /CONTACT: William H. Byrd or James W. Norvelle of Virginia Power, 804-771-6115/ CO: Virginia Power ST: Virginia, West Virginia IN: UTI SU: CON


SH-CK -- NY059 -- 7390 01/07/92 14:43 EST
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Date:Jan 7, 1992
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