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Marshall County officials seek answers on proposed power plant


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — A long-promised project to bring a natural gas-fired power plant just south of Moundsville was in the works for years, but in recent months, Marshall County leaders say they’re frustrated with a lack of communication.

First making plans for the facility in 2014, the Moundsville Power plant was set to begin construction early in 2016. However, by October 2015, Marshall County commissioners had already begun noticing that communication with the developers was inconsistent at best, and formally requested more consistent representation at commission meetings.

Recently, county commissioner Bob Miller lamented that Moundsville Power had been less than forthcoming with information, in many cases only providing updates when pushed.

“There’s nothing official that’s been transmitted to us. We’ve been in the dark for the longest time,” Miller said. “They really weren’t as communicative, considering our position in the county, as the thing proceeded. In the last couple years, there’s been very little communication from the company. We have to approach them, and that’s very unusual, in my opinion, in a situation like this, where you’re going to take ownership and they don’t keep you abreast as a partner as to what’s happening.”

Miller said the commission had last heard from Moundsville Power earlier in November, when representatives had told the commissioners that a court case in Charleston was, at the time still unresolved, but looked to be favorable. Litigation was brought against Moundsville Power by the Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance, which had filed appeals against Moundsville Power’s air quality permit in 2015. The group’s complaint claimed the plant would produce emissions in excess of regulations.

A ruling by the Kanawha County Circuit Court found that Moundsville Power’s permits were proper, dismissing the appeal of the OVJA. The ruling was issued on Nov. 15, after the most recent meeting of the Marshall County Commission, which did not meet the week of Thanksgiving.

The deadlines previously given by Moundsville Power — set to be open and operational by 2018, with construction underway by early 2016 — seem to be slipping, as ground has not yet been broken. However, the facility’s website still lists an anticipated completion date of 2018.

“With the time factors, with going onto the grid, they emphasized at the beginning that they had a hard deadline for getting onto the grid, and if they didn’t meet those factors, they were just going to be excluded,” Miller said. “I don’t totally understand the ramifications … They always acted like they were very hard deadlines, and if you didn’t meet them, you were out. I never heard of anything of revised deadlines. I was under the impression that this was supposed to be breaking ground, and the deadlines were starting to click off, and if they didn’t meet those, they were in big trouble.”

Mike Barnes, project manager for Moundsville Power, did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

Once operational, the 595 megawatt Moundsville Power plant is estimated to generate enough electricity to power 549,000 homes and create 400 jobs during the construction period and up to 30 full-time jobs once completed. It is projected to be situated just south of Moundsville, across the river from Vadis, Ohio. Moundsville Power is a subsidiary of Texas-based Quantum Utility Generation.

On a more positive note for the future of development in Marshall County, Miller said that, “in a roundabout way,” the investment of $83.7 billion over the next 20 years from China Energy Investment Corp. Ltd. will help develop Marshall County’s infrastructure, even absent the promise of direct development within the county.

See more from The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

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