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Power Plant To Be $3 Billion Investment in West Virginia

photo by: Photo by Steven Allen Adams

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, left, and Competitive Power Ventures CEO Lambert said a new proposed natural gas-fired power plant and carbon sequestration project was made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act.

CHARLESTON – Giving credit to the tax incentives in the new Inflation Reduction Act, Competitive Power Ventures announced its intentions Friday to build the state’s first multi-billion-dollar natural gas power plant using carbon capture technology.

State economic development officials and Representatives of Maryland-based Competitive Power Ventures made the announcement Friday afternoon at the Charleston Marriott Hotel.

“It’s an exciting day and another exciting day in West Virginia,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., before introducing CPV CEO Gary Lambert. “We’ve had a lot of exciting days and it keeps getting better.”

CPV plans to build an 1,800-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plant in West Virginia that will use carbon capture and sequestration technology to control greenhouse gas emissions. The project is expected to be completed in the next 10 years. The total investment by CPV is expected to exceed $3 billion.

“I must say the reception in the state thus far has been incredible,” Lambert said. “It is going to take us several years, and we have a lot of studies to do and a lot of work to do. We’re going to design this project to fit properly in the community, work with labor during the development process … and we’re going to work closely with the agencies and all of the representatives here to make this project a reality.”

A specific location for the project will be announced at a later date, though sources believe the company is considering Doddridge County, already a major hub in the state’s natural gas industry with plentiful access and pipeline infrastructure already in place. Lambert would not confirm or deny whether Doddridge County would be the final destination, saying that the company was considering other locations and still preparing for the permit process.

CPV’s proposed natural gas plant is their most ambitious project to date. The company has nine projects, including wind and solar projects and six natural gas power plant projects.

Lambert said both the power project and the carbon capture and sequestration project could see a combined 150 full-time jobs and as many as 1,000 construction jobs. CPV’s largest natural gas-fired plant project in Grundy County, Illinois, is expected to create 300 full-time jobs and will be a $1.3 billion investment in that community when it is up and running in 2023. Once completed, the plant will be a wholesale energy provider on the PJM interconnection market serving multiple states on the east coast.

Officials said the project is being made possible thanks to updates made to the 45Q tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration projects thanks to the $737 billion Inflation Reduction Act negotiated by Manchin and signed into law by President Joe Biden last month.

“What we did is we made sure that we were going to be able to produce fossil energy, using all the fossil resources that we have in the United States of America,” Manchin said, “cleaner than any place else in the world, but be able to do it and produce it and make sure we’re energy independent.

“At the same time, we’re going down the same path with our renewables, being able to invest in renewables and the guarantee of a 10-year investment with investment tax credits and production tax credits, which we have never done for a consistent period of time,” he continued.

Changes made to the 45Q tax credit include the dollar amount per ton for storage in saline geologic formations, utilization by industrial and power projects. The credit is good for 12 years after the project is completed and goes online. Any project that begins construction by 2033 would be eligible for the tax credits.

The Inflation Reduction Act also allows the tax credit to be received by eligible companies as a fully refundable direct payment and that option is only good for five years after the project goes online for for-profit companies. To qualify for the credit, companies must capture at least 75% of their greenhouse gas emissions.

“That makes the difference; that makes a project like this work,” Manchin said. “That’s the purpose.”

Company officials also credited the Legislature for passing legislation this year setting carbon capture and sequestration standards. House Bill 4491 created a carbon dioxide sequestration pilot program and set permitting requirements for future projects.

“Bill 4491 here in the state helps clear the path for carbon storage underground,” Lambert said. “We need certainty there as well as we look to raise investors in that side of the business. They want to know that if they put it under the ground, that the state’s going to back them in long term. That bill does exactly that.”

The CPV project is the second project announced this week that will utilize clean energy and benefit from the IRA. Two Berkshire Hathaway-owned companies are purchasing the former Century Aluminum site in Ravenswood. BHE renewables and Precision Castparts Corp. will build a modern titanium melt facility powered by solar energy. The companies call it a first-of-its-kind renewable energy microgrid-powered industrial site, representing an investment of $500 million.

California-based Sparkz also announced earlier this month that it would build an electric battery plant in Taylor County near Bridgeport. The proposed manufacturing plant would employ 350 workers on the site of a former glass factory. The company first announced the proposed plant in March, which would build zero-cobalt lithium-ion batteries. Sparkz’s patents come from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“We’re able … to produce power from West Virginia, and in the cleanest fashion possible, using the natural resources that we have,” Manchin said. “That’s a tremendous opportunity.”

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