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Appalachian Power, Wheeling Power file request in West Virginia to make environmental improvements

December 23, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, today requested permission to make upgrades and recover costs associated with meeting recently revised environmental regulations at the John Amos, Mountaineer and Mitchell plants in West Virginia. These rules apply to the ash handling and wastewater discharge systems at the facilities.

The company requested Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity to perform work at the three plants, and rates to begin recovery of the costs associated with those environmental improvements, in a filing with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of West Virginia. If approved by the Commission, residential customers using 1,000 kWh/month would see a 41-cent monthly increase beginning in September 2021.

The total investment at the three plants is approximately $384 million.

“This investment in our existing coal plants is all about balance,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “While we are planning investments in renewables in both Virginia and West Virginia, consistent with state legislation, we also need to invest in these plants because they will continue to play an important role in maintaining affordability and reliability for our customers.”  

Today’s filing is the first step in obtaining the regulatory approvals necessary to implement the compliance plans the company filed last month with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to meet its Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) and Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) rules.

“For each plant, we analyzed the most cost effective way to meet customers’ energy needs,” Beam said. “We looked at the level of investment needed to comply with the rules, remaining operating life of the plant and potential future compliance costs.”

The company’s request includes upgrades to bottom ash handling systems and wastewater treatment facilities to comply with the CCR rule and the ELG rule at each plant, which would allow these plants to continue to operate through 2040. Existing ash ponds at the plants will close and the ash will be moved to regulated landfills. The company’s filing includes an additional alternative for the Mitchell Plant in Moundsville, which would allow it to continue operating through 2028.

“Whether or not the decision is made to retire the Mitchell Plant in 2028, it’s important to recognize how important Mitchell Plant and our employees there have been to the Moundsville community since the plant first opened in 1971,” Beam said. “We will continue to be an important part of the community.”

Appalachian Power, along with Wheeling Power, today also submitted Integrated Resource Plans (IRP’s) to the PSC, which provide a 10-year forecast of energy requirements and how the company plans to meet those requirements. The company’s plan for meeting capacity obligations includes continued operation of existing generation facilities. To meet compliance requirements of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in its Virginia jurisdiction, the plan also includes adding 200 MW of solar and 600 MW of wind resources by 2030. The company submits an IRP to the PSC every five years according to state statute.

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