CHARLESTON — Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, has requested permission to make upgrades and recover costs associated with meeting recently revised environmental regulations.
The company said in a press release these rules apply to the ash handling and wastewater discharge systems at the facilities, and the work would take place at the John Amos plant in Putnam County and also Mountaineer plant near New Haven in Mason County and the Mitchell plant near Moundsville.
The company requested “Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity” to perform work at the three plants and rates to begin recovery of the costs associated with the work. The request was made in a filing with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia.
If approved by the PSC, residential customers using 1,000 kWh/month would see a 41-cent monthly increase beginning in September 2021.
The total investment at the three plants is approximately $384 million.
“This investment in our existing coal plants is all about balance,” Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer, said in the release. “While we are planning investments in renewables in both Virginia and West Virginia, consistent with state legislation, we also need to invest in these plants because they will continue to play an important role in maintaining affordability and reliability for our customers.”
The company said the filing is the first step in obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to implement the compliance plans the company filed last month with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to meet its coal combustion residuals (CCR) and effluent limitation guidelines (ELG) rules.
“For each plant, we analyzed the most cost effective way to meet customers’ energy needs,” Beam said. “We looked at the level of investment needed to comply with the rules, remaining operating life of the plant and potential future compliance costs.”
The company’s request includes upgrades to bottom ash handling systems and wastewater treatment facilities to comply with the CCR rule and the ELG rule at each plant, which would allow the plants to continue to operate through 2040. Existing ash ponds at the plants will close, and the ash will be moved to regulated landfills. The company’s filing includes an additional alternative for the Mitchell Plant in Moundsville, which would allow it to continue operating through 2028.
“Whether or not the decision is made to retire the Mitchell Plant in 2028, it’s important to recognize how important Mitchell Plant and our employees there have been to the Moundsville community since the plant first opened in 1971,” Beam said.