July 3, 2018 Read More →

West Virginia waste-coal plant on the edge of closing

Charleston Gazette-Mail:

While the energy industry awaits specifics on President Donald Trump’s plan to bail out struggling coal and nuclear plants, one coal waste plant in Marion County is hoping to stay open through state-level proceedings.

The Grant Town Power Plant is at risk of shutting down as its owner, American Bituminous Power Partners, has been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, according to company filings with the state Public Service Commission. The PSC denied in May the company’s proposal to increase its electric energy purchase agreement (EEPA) with FirstEnergy company Mon Power from $34.25 per megawatt hour to $40 per megawatt hour, which would have bumped up customer rates, so it could have a better chance at staying open.

“Further…given the current energy market in [regional electric grid operator] PJM and AmBit’s financial condition, it is unlikely that AmBit will be able to emerge from bankruptcy as a going concern or be acquired by another entity without an amendment to the capacity rate under the existing EEPA,” said American Bituminous in its initial filing on the proposal.

The Sierra Club has staunchly opposed the Grant Town plant’s EEPA, noting testimony from the state Consumer Advocate Division that said payments to the plant passed on to Mon Power customers “exceeded the market price of power by over $56 million” over a less-than-four-year period. “In approving the pass through of the cost of buying power from an outdated, dirty coal-plant, West Virginia’s PSC has shown that it favors bailing out corporate polluters over prioritizing West Virginia ratepayers and local economies,” Justin Raines, chair of the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

The 80-megawatt plant, located at the site of the former Federal No. 1 mine, sells all of its energy to Mon Power under its current agreement. The plant burns waste coal from abandoned mines, consuming about 565,000 tons annually. It employs around 98 people full-time.

American Bituminous has been in rough financial shape of late, saying in a March 2017 filing that it would owe an estimated $18.5 million to creditors in October.

More: Proposal to sustain Marion County coal waste plant sees resistance

Comments are closed.