Dominion Virginia Power began producing electricity Monday at a 1,358 MW natural gas-fired plant in Brunswick County, VA, the utility announced this week.

The combined-cycle Brunswick Power Station is capable of producing enough electricity to power 325,000 homes, the utility said. Construction began in August 2013 as part of an effort to meet growing demand and to offset lost capacity from coal retirements.

“The Brunswick Power Station is destined to be a workhorse, using combined-cycle technology that is clean and efficient and will produce reliable, low-cost energy for our 2.5 million customers,” said Dominion Generation Group CEO Paul Koonce. He applauded the construction team “on the successful, on-schedule, on-budget completion of an important project.”

The project employed as many as 1,500 workers during construction, and the power station expects to keep 43 long-term employees at an annual payroll of around $7.5 million.

Dominion also recently received approval from Virginia regulators for its proposed 1,588 MW combined-cycle Greensville Power Station, planned for a site not far from the Brunswick plant in neighboring Greensville County, VA (see Daily GPI, March 30). The Greensville plant is scheduled to go into service in 2019.

Both plants are to draw supply from Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co., or Transco, with plans for alternative tie-ins with the Dominion-backed Marcellus-to-Southeast Atlantic Coast Pipeline (see Daily GPI, April 18). A Dominion spokesman told NGI that both plants are expected to consume an estimated 250,000 Dth/d, depending on a number of variables, such as demand and unit availability.

The Brunswick and Greensville plants are part of a larger trend of coal-to-gas switching in the United States, particularly in the Southeast, which has seen the power sector feed off the supply glut created by unconventional shale development (see Daily GPI, April 20).

In 2015, gas made major gains in the power sector as low commodity prices and regulatory headwinds put downward pressure on coal-fired generation (see Daily GPI, Dec. 28, 2015; Dec. 2, 2015; Oct. 28, 2015). The Energy Information Administration said last month it expects gas to be the leading fuel for U.S. electric generation this year (see Daily GPI, March 16).