The $1.3bn power station, if approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), would be built on a 214-acre site on US Route 58 east of Lawrenceville in Virginia.

The new plant would serve rising demand for energy and replace aging coal-fired power plants that are being retired for environmental and economic reasons.

Dominion, which has about 2.3 million customers in the state, said the power plant would provide enough electricity for 340,000 homes upon completion of construction by 2016.

Dominion chairman, president and CEO Thomas F Farrell II noted that the new station is the clear economic and operational choice fot the company to meet its customers’ energy needs.

"The station is a part of our strategy to meet an anticipated demand from our customers for 5,300 megawatts of new generation over the next 15 years," Farrell said.

The utility already announced plans to close down or convert some of its coal-fired power plants and open new power stations to meet energy needs and comply with changes to environmental regulations.