Friday, March 07, 2008

W.Va. PSC approves $2.23 billion 'clean coal' plant

West Virginia utility regulators have signed off on American Electric Power's plan to build a $2.23 billion clean-coal plant near New Haven, W. Va., on the Ohio River, reports The Associated Press. The plant will be next to an existing AEP plant. The Public Service Commission approved the plan, saying the company needed to produce more energy to meet consumers' demands in the coming years.

The 629-megawatt Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant "is believed to be cleaner than conventional coal-fired plants because it burns gas made from coal to produce electricity," AP reports. A company spokeswoman said the plant still needs approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission because customers of AEP subsidiary Appalachian Power would help pay for the plant. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection also must issue an air permit before construction can begin. (Read more)

From the time construction begins, it will require approximately 48 to 54 months to complete the IGCC unit, according to the news release from AEP, which has proposed a similar plant 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 release said. "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." (Read more)

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