Energy, Latest News, State Government

PSC green-lights Longview Power gas and solar plant projects

MORGANTOWN — The state Public Service Commission has given its green light to construction of two new Longview Power plants: one gas fired, one solar.

The PSC issued its order Friday. The order approves citing certificates submitted by Longview Power II and Longview Renewable Power, daughter companies of Longview Power, which operates the existing coal-fired plant near Maidsville. Longview II would operate the gas-fired plant; Longview Renewable, the solar.

PSC also approved a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a 5,500-foot (3,600 feet of it in West Virginia) high-voltage transmission line to connect the project to the North Longview Switchyard owned and operated by West Penn Power.

Longview II would be a 1,200 megawatt powered by two high-efficiency, low-heat-rate gas turbines and occupy about 54 acres of reclaimed mine land north of and adjacent to the existing plant. Longview Renewable will consist of solar panel array fields generating about 70 MW of power: four West Virginia arrays producing 20 MW and covering 127 acres near the existing plant, and 50 MW just across the Pennsylvania border.

The order comes with 17 conditions agreed to by Longview, the PSC and stakeholders. They include:

At least 30 days before construction, Longview will file with the PSC executed copies of the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) and lease agreements with Monongalia County. (Either the county or the Mon County Development Authority will own the project and lease it back to Longview).

Construction may not block roads by changing shifts or heavy haul while school buses are scheduled to be on the road within one mile of the site.

Longview will consult with the Division of Highways regarding possible construction of a right-turn lane on the southbound CR 53, Fort Martin Road, approach to the site. To minimize traffic, construction traffic will approach the plant from the north on Fort Martin Road.

Longview will build the planned recreational park at the site and provide reasonable public access to it, while maintaining control over access.

The order notes that Longview has entered into a memorandum of agreement, which the PSC has approved, with the West Virginia State Building and Trades Council to use local labor paid union wages and fringe benefits.

Supporting its decision, the PSC notes, among other things, that the evidence establishes a need for the project in the PJM regional power grid. The project will provide a positive impact on local employment and the local and state economies. It won’t cause substantial traffic problems.

Longview estimates that Longview II will cost $925 million to build; Longview Renewable will cost $76 million, with $31 million of that on the West Virginia side. The two projects will create 2,835 job-years with $219.5 million in wages.

The first year of Longview II will create 618 full- and part-time jobs and $43 million in wages; Longview Renewable will create 10 full- and part-time jobs and $640,000 in wages.

The proposed PILOT agreement for the two plants would provide the county with about $58.2 million across 30 years. Annual county revenue from the proposed PILOT is projected at $2.5 million up front, then gradually escalating from $1.58 million per year for the first five years up to $2.47 million in year 30. If Longview built both plants across the border, Greene County would receive only $23 million.

The PSC order observes that the project, when combined with the existing, adjacent 710 MW coal-fired facility owned by affiliate Longview Power, LLC could produce nearly 2,000 MW of generating capacity. The gas facility “will include two advanced class gas turbines with a high efficiency, secondary cycle steam turbine system that will result in class-leading plant efficiency or heat rate.”

Locating the new project in close proximity to the coal-fired facility, the PSC said, will allow the existing and new facilities to use the currently installed infrastructure, including water, steam, and power.

Longview plans to complete construction by March 2024, the PSC said.

Tweet David Beard @dbeardtdp Email