Longview Power Plant Up and Running

$2B facility producing 700 megawatts a day

Morgantown Dominion Post
22 December 2011
By Alex Lang

Longview Power Plant, is now just that — a power plant.

General Manager Charlie Huguenard said the plant, north of Morgantown, reached substantial competition last week, meaning most of the work is done.

Crews will continue to do minor work, testing and repairs as needed, Huguenard said. But, the Longview power staff has taken control of the coal-to-electricity facility.

The facility cost about $2 billion to build.

The plant is generating electricity 24 hours a day, Huguenard said. Each day, 700 megawatts — enough to power 7 million 100-watt bulbs — go into the electrical grid. The plant sells its energy to PJM Interconnection.

There was a delay in reaching substantial competition as the contractor had to fix a few issues, such as problems with the boiler, Huguenard said.

As part of the commissioning process, the plant performed emissions tests, which Huguenard said went smoothly.

To get a permit, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection gave it the lowest permitted air emissions rating to date. The plant is the lowest airemissions plant in the state, if not one of the lowest in the country, Huguenard said.

Not everybody was pleased with the plant, however. Chairman of the state’s Sierra Club Executive Committee, Jim Sconyers, said the group battled the plant, but lost.

Despite the company’s environmental claims, Sconyers said people should be concerned about the emissions from a coal facility.

“You can only be so clean, if you’re burning coal to make electricity,” Sconyers said. There is a bit of a bright side, he added.

As part of the settlement with the Sierra Club, the Longview Power Plant will begin to donate $500,000 to nonprofit organizations to cover the costs of helping to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and to take care of local waterways.

The plant has 96 full-time workers who are based in Morgantown, Huguenard said. The company estimates the plant will increase state and local revenues by roughly $7.9 million a year and boost annual labor income in local counties by $43 million.

Now that the plant has reached substantial completion, Huguenard said he plans to remain with the project to oversee the transition from construction to operations.