Dominion Virginia Power is planning to convert three of its power stations in the US state of Virginia from using coal to biomass.

If the conversions are approved by local governments, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the plants could begin burning biomass in 2013.

These facilities, located in Altavista, Hopewell and Southampton county in Virginia, are identical and went into operation in 1992.

The company said that the fuel switch will reduce nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury and particulate emissions, and all of the stations will meet new emissions standards established by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

When converted, the power stations are expected to have a generating capacity of 50MW each.

Dominion Generation CEO David Christian said that the proposal to convert these units from coal to biomass provides customers with economical electricity, delivers environmental benefits and takes advantage of a renewable, low-cost fuel source.

Dominion plans to meet the state’s voluntary Renewable Portfolio Standard, which calls for 15% of the company’s generation to be from renewable resources by 2025.