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Potential buyer for Pleasants Plant has signed a letter of intent

Representatives of Omnis Fuel Technologies have signed a letter of intent to take over the endangered Pleasants Power Station, county commissioner Jay Powell said today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

It’s a major step, but it doesn’t yet nail down the purchase.

Powell said he was calling from the plant while representatives from Omnis were on site. He said the signed document means “their intention is they are looking at seriously purchasing the power plant.”

Omnis has been in talks in recent weeks to take over the plant and generate energy using a hydrogen by product of Omnis’s graphite production operations.

Omnis is developing technologies that could be subject to benefits under the federal Inflation Reduction Act, like hydrogen and carbon sequestration.

The possibility of Omnis taking over the Pleasants Power Station has arisen in recent weeks.

One clear sign of optimism arose last week with official notification to PJM Interconnection that the plant shouldn’t be retired just yet.

The signed letter of intent was the next big step.

“We still remain cautiously hopeful,” Powell said. “We celebrate every victory. We believe this is another hurdle we had to get over. We have jumped over that hurdle. All parties have agreed to the letter of intent.”

Gov. Jim Justice, in a briefing today, responded to a question about the power plant by saying he has plans to meet at 6:30 tonight with one of the principles of the power plant development.

“I do think we’ve very, very close to a solution that will save the power plant,” Justice said.

Pleasants is a 1300 megawatt two-unit coal power plant located on the Ohio River near Belmont, Pleasants County. About 150 people work at the plant, which began operations in 1979.

“Their intention would be to continue to run the 1,300 megawatts of electricity because they realize the PJM market still needs this power plant’s electricity, so that’s exciting,” Powell said.

“They want to keep the employees. In fact, they have spoken to the fact that they need to potentially increase the employment here at the plant by a small percentage, 10 to 15 percent.”
Until late last year, it had been owned by Energy Harbor, which is pursuing a green energy strategy and transferred control of the plant to another company called Energy Transmission & Environmental

ETEM had intended to shut down the plant, demolish the structures, remediate the property and prepare it for future redevelopment.

Two subsidiaries of FirstEnergy power company have been examining whether taking over Pleasants Power Station would make sense. The two power companies have started their assessment under the guidance of the Public Service Commission.

The power companies, in a filing last month, alluded to the possibility of yet another company potentially taking over the property, raising the possibility that their evaluation could be cut short if the deal with Omnis would solidify.

Now, Powell said, “We celebrate the victory that it can fire back up as early as August 1 when we thought it might have a death sentence.”