Natural Gas Plant to Open in 2018

MOUNDSVILLE – Andrew Dorn sees a busy four years ahead for Moundsville Power.

The entity, which had its Payment in Lieu of Tax agreement approved this past week by Marshall County commissioners, has until June 2018 to be operational, as the group is obligated to begin supplying electricity to the PJM Interconnection grid by that time.

A number of things will need to happen in the next four years for that to become a reality.

Dorn, Moundsville Power’s managing partner, said the first priority is for him and his partners to raise the projected $615 million needed to construct the 549-megawatt plant.

Marshall County will assume ownership of the plant upon its completion through the PILOT agreement, with the construction work financed through private funds.

The county will then lease it back to Moundsville Power LLC.

There also will be air quality and other environmental permits to procure, pipelines constructed to bring the gas to the site and site plans to be approved.

“Now, we are reviewing bids from contractors who are looking to build the plant for us,” he said. “We are also working with the (Public Service Commission of West Virginia) to answer their questions on the siting application.”

“There are lots of moving parts to this,” Dorn added.

Dorn said the annual economic impact during construction will be about $815 million, using about 400 union laborers to build the site. This work should start in 2015.

Once completed, Dorn said the company hopes to burn about 100 million cubic feet of natural gas per day inside the proposed plant, noting the facility would employ about 30 full-time workers once it is operational.

“We have to put power onto the grid by June 2018, so we need to get going,” he said. “The power will be sold to PJM, which operates in 13 states. Whatever company needs power can buy it from the grid.”

According to the PJM website, the firm operates 62,556 miles of transmission lines serving 61 million electricity customers in the eastern United States.

Planners have said the facility would be a “combined-cycle” plant that will use natural gas to run one of its turbines, while using the exhaust heat from this process to drive an additional steam turbine. This means it would make use of what would otherwise be a waste product.

Dorn said General Electric, the world’s largest manufacturer of power plant turbines and generators, will provide the natural gas turbines and power island equipment. GE will also provide a long-term contractual services agreement to ensure the efficient operation of the power project.

Once the plant enters the operational phase, Dorn said the benefits for local workers and residents will become obvious.

“We will make a $1 million payment to the county when we complete our financing. We will start making normal payments once the plant is up and running,” he said. “We are going to do everything we can to make this work.

“I am extremely pleased that we have received the approval of the Marshall County Commission. From the beginning of this process, the commissioners have been engaged and have asked all the right questions. It has been obvious that the commission wants to bring jobs and opportunities for the people of Marshall County. Now, we are happy that we can move forward with what I feel certain will be an outstanding partnership for many, many years,” Dorn added.