AEP receives approval to build IGCC plant from WV PSC
COLUMBUS, Ohio.– American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) operating unit Appalachian Power has received authority from the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (WV PSC) to build a 629-megawatt Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) electric generating plant in West Virginia.
The WV PSC granted Appalachian Power a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the plant, which would be located beside the company’s existing Mountaineer Plant near New Haven, W.Va. Appalachian Power filed for the certificate Jan. 12, 2006. The plant’s estimated cost is approximately $2.23 billion.
“It is critical for our nation and the world that we move forward with advanced, cleaner technologies that allow us to continue to use coal for electricity generation,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer. “With IGCC generation, we can continue to rely on our nation’s and West Virginia’s abundant coal resources as a generating fuel with fewer emissions and less impact on our environment.
“West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin and the state’s regulatory commissioners have wisely focused on the future of their state and our world by supporting IGCC technology. We hope for a similar decision from the members of the Virginia State Corporation Commission and are ready to begin construction on our IGCC plant as soon as we have all the necessary approvals in hand,” Morris said.
“With new record peak demands for electricity set twice within the last year, Appalachian Power has a clear need for additional generation capacity,” said Dana Waldo, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer. “We recently added 175 megawatts of renewable wind generation to serve our customers, but it is critical that we also have base-load generation that is ready and able to serve our customers 24 hours, every day. This IGCC unit best meets that need by providing cleaner coal-fueled electricity while at the same time supporting the West Virginia economy.”
In addition to the West Virginia filing, Appalachian Power has filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) for approval to recover the Virginia share of carrying costs associated with the plant and has filed for an environmental permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP). The Virginia SCC is expected to rule on the IGCC plant in April. AEP continues to work with WV DEP to complete the air permitting process. From the time construction begins, it will require approximately 48 to 54 months to complete the IGCC unit.
AEP has proposed IGCC technology for use as new base-load generation in the seven-state eastern portion of its service area. The company announced in August 2004 its intent to scale-up IGCC technology and build approximately 1,200 megawatts of large, commercial-scale IGCC generation. In addition to the IGCC unit at Mountaineer, AEP has proposed to build a similar 629-megawatt IGCC unit in Ohio.
IGCC technology converts coal into a synthetic gas that moves through pollutant-removal equipment before the gas is burned in a combined-cycle gas turbine to produce electricity. The process allows for more efficient and effective reduction and removal of sulfur dioxides, particulates and mercury from plant emissions than conventional pulverized coal technology. IGCC plants also offer the opportunity for more efficient, less costly carbon capture for permanent storage in deep geologic formations.
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