Kentucky PSC Gives Future of Mitchell’s Plant in Marshall County a Blow | News, Sports, Jobs
MOUNDSVILLE – Hopes of keeping Marshall County’s Mitchell Power Plant open until 2040 took a hard hit last week, as the Kentucky Civil Service Commission agreed to a plan that would keep the plant open until 2040. 2028.
The move drew a strong reaction from U.S. Representative David McKinley, RW.Va., whose district includes the Mitchell factory.
American Electric Power, through its subsidiaries Wheeling Power and Kentucky Power, has filed separate claims with each state’s PSC. Wheeling Power and Kentucky Power each have a 50% stake in the Mitchell plant, so deposits had to be made in each state. Wheeling Power argued its case in June before the West Virginia PSC and is awaiting a decision from that body.
AEP has two plans on the table to bring the Mitchell plant into compliance with federal environmental regulations.
One plan, according to the Kentucky PSC documents, would allow the plant to remain open until 2040 at a cost of $ 133.5 million.
In this plan, the Mitchell plant would be able to make improvements that would allow it to meet federal effluent limitation guidelines, which are national standards for wastewater discharged to surface water and wastewater treatment plants. municipal wastewater treatment. These have a compliance deadline of December 31, 2028.
The other would cost $ 35.1 million, but would only allow the plant to make improvements to meet the combustible coal residue guidelines, which regulate the safe disposal of coal ash. These upgrades would only keep the Mitchell factory open until 2028.
Kentucky Power applied to complete the first plan and applied for a certificate to build projects that would make the Mitchell plant ELG compliant and recoup the costs of that project. He argued that this would be the cost-effective option, claiming that the costs of replacing capacity in 2028 would be higher than the costs of upgrades.
The Kentucky PSC disagreed and allowed the company to go for the second plan.
“Based on the evidence provided in the case, the Commission found that the company overestimated the costs of energy and replacement capacity. the Kentucky PSC said in a press release.
“Additionally, Kentucky Power did not take into account the potential future costs of environmental compliance that could be added to the costs of keeping Mitchell in business beyond 2028.”
The PSC’s decision was in line with arguments made by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, the Kentucky Industrial Utilities Customer Advocacy Group, and the Sierra Club.
McKinley has been a strong supporter of doing what is necessary to keep the Mitchell plant open until 2040. He testified before the West Virginia PSC and led a Congressional delegation letter calling on the WVPSC to approve the upgrades. level required.
He said in a statement on Friday that he was disappointed with Kentucky “Turning your back on coal”.
“The Mitchell Power Plant not only supports countless jobs and much needed economic activity, but it is essential in providing reliable and resilient electricity to taxpayers in West Virginia and Kentucky,” McKinley said. “Any rate hikes necessary to keep the Mitchell power plant open pales in comparison to the economic devastation that will come with the plant shutting down prematurely. “
A 2021 report from the University of West Virginia on the economic impact of coal and coal-fired power generation in the state said Mitchell produces more than 5 million megawatt hours in total. The direct economic impact of the plant in Marshall County is $ 418 million, and closing the Mitchell plant would mean the end of more than 660 jobs and $ 65 million in employee compensation.
McKinley said he and other supporters of the Mitchell factory are not done fighting to keep it open until 2040.
“Going forward, to keep the plant open until 2040, we will work with the state and other stakeholders to find a solution to protect our economy and West Virginia’s coal miners. “ he said.