549-MW, gas-fired power project planned for northern West Virginia

A natural gas combined-cycle power plant with a nameplate capacity of 549 MW will be built on a site in Marshall County, W.Va., about four miles south of Moundsville, with construction planned to begin in mid 2015.

Officials at Moundsville Power LLC announced the project on April 22. Moundsville Power is a Buffalo, New York-based independent power plant developer.  

Moundsville spokesman Andrew Dorn Jr. said the project will cost about $615m. “The project will have a very significant positive financial impact on Moundsville, Marshall County and the State of West Virginia,” he added.

According to an economic impact study performed by Tom S. Witt, PhD, of Witt Economics LLC in Morgantown, W.Va., the project will average more than 400 construction jobs during the estimated 30-month construction period.

“This is an exciting project with the potential to have a great positive impact on our region,” explained Don Rigby, Executive Director of the Regional Economic Development Partnership. “We have been working the Moundsville Power development team for over a year now and will continue to provide assistance to help them as they work through the project’s development.”

The plant will utilize $105m of natural gas annually sourced from West Virginia producers and processors. Witt projected the annual economic impact during construction would be in excess of $815m and the plant will have an annual operating impact of over $283m. Once operational, the plant will employ 30 skilled workers.

Moundsville Power said it is contracting with a consortium consisting of CH2M Hill and General Electric (GE) to build the plant and provide construction and operating guarantees.

  • CH2M Hill, a global leader in consulting, design, design-build, construction, operations, and program management with 26,000 employees, will design, engineer and construct the facility.
  • GE, the world’s largest manufacturer of power plant turbines and generators, will provide the natural gas turbines and power island equipment. GE will also provide a long-term contractual services agreement to ensure the efficient operation of the project. 

The plant will use GE 7.04 gas turbines in a two-by one-configuration. The plant will be fuel-efficient and have a small environmental footprint. As a combined-cycle facility, the heat and rotational energy produced by the combustion of natural gas in a gas turbine produces electricity. The exhaust heat from that process is then used to produce steam, which drives a steam turbine to produce additional electricity without the use of additional natural gas.

“Our natural gas producers are supplying energy for America,” said Corky DeMarco, Executive Director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. “This merchant power plant is manufacturing a product that uses Marcellus Shale to create jobs in the Mountain State.”

Project will re-use an old chemical plant site

The project is being built on a 37-acre portion of the former Allied Chemical plant site that is now owned by Honeywell, which has been remediating the site. 

“This project would not be possible without the vision, leadership and desire of Honeywell to return as much of this site as possible to a viable economic use,” said Dorn. “Honeywell has been an indispensable partner in the development of the site providing significant financial and engineering support to move the project forward.”

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., based in Cleveland, has been engaged to act as the exclusive project finance advisor.  

“The required regulatory approvals are well underway and we want to thank the Regional Economic Development Partnership, the Marshall County Commissioners and the Marshall County Board of Education for their consideration,” said Dorn. “I also want to thank a number of West Virginia-based professional advisors who have provided tremendous assistance to us, including the Charleston-based law firm of Spilman, Thomas and Battle, PLLC, who has provided legal and environmental assistance, as well as Potesta & Associates, Inc., who has worked on numerous required environmental and siting studies and permit applications required for regulatory approvals, and McKinley and Associates, who has served as an engineering and architectural consultant.”

Notable is that this area, in the Ohio River Valley, is the heart of the coal-fired power industry in this region, with numerous coal plants spread along the Ohio River. Many of those plants have been shut or will be shut over the next couple of years due to age and new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.