WV Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gas-Fired Power Plant

ESC Brooke County power plant concept drawing

Last Thursday the West Virginia Supreme Court effectively ended opposition against building natural gas-fired power plants in the Mountain State. We’ve brought you a number of articles detailing how the coal lobby has tried its best, via numerous lawsuits, to block three Marcellus-fired power plants from getting built (see Murray Energy Continues to Block Gas-Fired Plants in WV). The final attempt to stop these projects is to challenge air permits issued by the WV Public Service Commission. Isn’t that rich? Coal objecting to air permits for natural gas electric plants, which pollute far less than coal. The WV Supreme Court took up a challenge by Big Coal (i.e. coal baron Robert Murray) against one of the projects located in Brooke County. Last week the Supremes ruled in favor of the gas-fired plant. Victory! So when will construction begin?
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Robert Murray Exposed as Funding Opposition to WV NatGas Plants

Robert Murray of Murray Energy – the man behind the OVJA curtain

In July MDN brought you an article that exposes the Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance (OVJA) as a front group for Murray Energy–coal people trying to block new natural gas-fired electric plants from getting built in West Virginia (see OVJA Exposed as Front for Murray Energy Blocking Gas-Fired Plants). A new article appearing the the Charleston Gazette-Mail goes deeper, ripping the mask off to reveal Robert Murray (CEO of Murray Energy) as the puppet master pulling the strings of OVJA.
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OVJA Exposed as Front for Murray Energy Blocking Gas-Fired Plants

Enough is enough. It’s time to name names and put an end to blocking new gas-fired electric plants planned in West Virginia. WV has a long, proud history as a coal producer. According to West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney, some 95% of the electricity produced and used in the Mountain State comes from coal-fired plants. However, natural gas burns cleaner than coal, and frankly, natgas is now cheaper than coal. Yet WV still has not permitted or allowed a single new gas-fired plant to be constructed. Last year then-WV Sec. of Commerce Woody Thrasher observed that Ohio has built 19 new gas-fired power plants, and Pennsylvania has built 22 new gas-fired power plants, while WV has built NONE. Why not? Because of Robert Murray, CEO and founder of Murray Energy, one of the largest independent coal mine operators in the U.S. Bob Murray is using a front organization called Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance (OVJA) to file a blizzard of frivolous lawsuits that have kept all new gas-fired plant projects from being built in WV. Drew Dorn, Director of ESC Harrison County Power and President of Energy Solutions Consortium (the company that has filed to build several new gas-fired plants in WV), points out Murray’s hypocrisy on the shale issue, by saying: “Murray Energy is trying to kill thousands of jobs on these projects. Murray Energy has made huge amounts of money off of natural gas in rights-of-way and other means, but when it comes to West Virginia natural gas making electricity, the company is trying to achieve through the courts what it could not through the marketplace.” The gloves are now off and it’s time to fight back–to get gas-fired plants built in WV. It’s time to “out” Bob Murray for the obstructionist he has become, and to expose him for the economic damage he’s causing…
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Brooke County WV Power Plant Wins State Approval

Last September none other than West Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce, Woody Thrasher, admitted publicly that his beloved state is decidedly unfriendly to new natgas-fired electric plant projects (see WV Sec Commerce Says State Unfriendly to Gas-Fired Power Plants). In a speech before state legislators, Thrasher said while Ohio has built 19 new gas-fired power plants, and Pennsylvania has built 22 new gas-fired power plants, WV has built NONE. Zero. Nada. And that has to change. Pressure from the coal industry and regulatory red tape are preventing new projects from happening. A few years ago it seemed as though a project in Marshall County was ready to begin construction (see Progress for 3 WV NatGas Electric Plants; 1 Breaks Ground in 2016). However, that project is stalled–perhaps even dead (according to rumors we’ve heard). Last week there was a sliver of light when Harrison County commissioners voted to pass a resolution supporting a long-delayed gas power plant project there (see Harrison County, WV Commissioners Vote to Help Delayed Elec Plant). And now, finally, some sunshine breaks through! A power plant project in Brooke County, WV (same developers, Energy Solutions Consortium or ESC) received a siting certificate approval from the WV Public Service Commission. This is a good sign. Finally, a power plant project in WV that is moving forward…
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More on that Massive $83.7B Chinese Investment in WV Shale/Petchem

We’re still reeling after yesterday’s announcement that China has agreed to invest $83.7 billion in the State of West Virginia–largely in shale and shale-related petrochemical projects (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem). Let’s put China’s promised investment in perspective. The GDP (gross domestic product, or the value of all of the state’s economic activity) for WV last year was $73.4 billion. One expert calculates the entire investment by the Marcellus/Utica industry in WV so far has been about $35 billion. The investment by China, which will be spread out over 20 years, is larger than all of the economic activity in WV for a single year, and 2.5 times the investment made by the shale industry so far! That’s massive. It’s huge. It’s mind-blowing. There really aren’t words big enough for this investment–IF it comes to be. You see, what was signed in China yesterday is a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). It’s a handshake–a gentleman’s agreement. And sometimes those agreements disappear. So this is far from a done deal. However, we’ll take it. If even half of the promised investment becomes reality, it’s game-changing. It is, according to WV Gov. Jim Justice, the single largest private investment in the state’s history. Now that we’ve had 24 hours to digest the news, a number of people are talking. While we still don’t have specificity about the projects that will get funded with this money, we do have more insight. The first couple of projects to get funded will be electric generating power plants–powered by Marcellus/Utica gas. And we know where those plants will most likely be located: “one in Harrison County and one in Brooke County” according to head of the WV Chamber of Commerce. Cracker plants (plural) are also being talked about for WV. We’ve been monitoring the news since yesterday’s announcement and have collected a number of excerpts below of what people (in the know) are saying about this historic deal…
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List of 26 Shale Gas-Fired Electric Plant Projects in OH-PA-WV

Last week the The Independent Power Producers (IPPs) of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia wrote an official letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) detailing their objection to a proposed plan by the Dept. of Energy (DOE) to give special treatment to electric power generating facilities powered by coal and nuclear plants. The DOE recently ordered FERC to devise new market rules favoring coal and nukes on the premise they contribute to “grid resiliency.” The IPPs writing the letter in opposition represent at least 26 shale gas-fired electric plant projects across the three states, which will contribute $21 billion to those state economies and generate 20,000+ jobs. Below we have the letter sent to FERC by the IPPs. That letter prompted our friends at Energy in Depth to produce a list of the projects the IPPs are building (or have built) in the tri-state area. It is an impressive list. We liked it and grabbed it to share with the MDN audience…
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Last Stand: Big Coal Tries to Block NatGas Electric Plant in WV

last-standSince April of 2014, MDN has written about and monitored a new project to build a $615 million electrical generating plant in Marshall County, WV that will burn Marcellus Shale gas (see MDN stories about it here). Called Moundsville Power, the project received a final green light in February 2015. We also discovered the plant will burn not only methane, but ethane as well (see WV Moundsville Electric Generating Plant to Burn Methane + Ethane!). Moundsville Power was supposed to break ground in early 2016. That didn’t happen. What’s the holdup? A group supporting coal-fired electric generation called Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance filed an objection to the West Virginia Air Quality Board’s permit issued for the project (see Coal Supporters Try to Stop Moundsville, WV NatGas Electric Plant). Because of the appeal, meant to block the project, Moundsville continues to be delayed–at least for a few more months…
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Coal Supporters Try to Stop Moundsville, WV NatGas Electric Plant

Moundsville PowerIt’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the proposed 549 megawatt, $615 million electrical generating plant to be built near Moundsville (Marshall County), WV. At last check almost a year ago, Moundsville Power was on schedule for an opening in 2018 (see Moundsville (WV) Electric Plant on Schedule for 2018 Opening). At that time project developer Andrew Dorn said he expected the project to break ground in early 2016. That didn’t happen. What’s the holdup? A group supporting coal-fired electric generation called Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance filed an objection to the West Virginia Air Quality Board’s permit issued for the project. Coal plants are dying almost daily, thanks to President Obama’s war on coal. People who support those dying plants are waging war on natural gas in a desperate attempt to stem the inevitable. Will the delay in construction mean the timeline for Moundsville Power slips?…
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Steady Progress at Belmont County, OH Ethane Cracker Plant Site

OH-WV mapIt was exactly a year ago (last Friday) that PTT Global Chemical announced their intentions to build an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time a number of positive signs have occurred that indicate this is a real, very serious project. One such sign is that PTT is paying $100 million to have the engineering work done for the plant (see PTT Announces 2 Contractors Working on Belmont Cracker Plant). Another sign is that demolition work at the site has begun (see Ongoing Demolition Work at Future Belmont OH Ethane Cracker Site). The demolition work, as well as the design work, continues. Here’s an update on the latest good signs coming from the proposed Belmont cracker plant…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jan 22, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Stuffing the CELDF back in its bottle; NY comptroller asks Exxon about climate change risk; Moundsville electric plant still on sked; NJ residents hire DC firm to oppose PA pipeline; EPA continues out of control, wants FERC to change its charter; Obama vetoes attempt to block his Clean Water power grab; Obama uses CA catastrophe to advance his own agenda; group proves NASA is lying about climate change data; appeals court declines to block Obama dictatorship on carbon emissions; some o&g drillers can’t give their assets away; and more!
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Marshall County Commissioner Still Opposes $615M Electric Plant

say what you meanIn August 2014 the Marshall County, WV board of commissioners (a 3-person board) voted to approve a plan to build a Marcellus Shale-powered electric plant in the county (see Marshall County Votes to Accept Gas-Powered Electric Plant). The vote was a bit complicated. In a nutshell, Moundsville Power, a company owned by developers from Buffalo, NY, proposed a deal to the county. They want to build a 549-megawatt plant costing $615 million. But if Moundsville owns the plant, it’s subjected to high property taxes. Moundsville proposed selling the plant to the county but running it for them. In essence the county will own the plant on paper. Because it’s county owned, no property taxes! However, Moundsville would make rental payments to the county–or payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT). The payments would not be as much as if it were taxed–about $13 million less over 30 years. But the county still gets $31 million over those 30 years–and $31M is a whole lot better than $0. Moundsville would not have built the plant at all if not for the PILOT arrangement. One of the three commissioners, Bob Miller, voted against the plan. Now he’s trying to convince the state legislature to overturn the PILOT plan, although he says he still wants the deal with Moundsville to go forward…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Oct 23, 2015

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: MSC’s Spigelmyer says to regulate for the “right reasons”; more PA impact fee money flows to local towns; Moundsville power plant promises better communication; headhunter finds the bright side of 200K layoffs in oil & gas; and more!
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6 NatGas-Powered Electric Plants On the Way in OH/WV

coming soonWith President Obama’s war on coal in full swing, so-called renewable energy sources like wind and solar can’t possibly pick up the slack from coal-powered electric generating plants shutting down. Coal-fired electric plants are shutting down at an alarming rate–we’ve lost 11 million megawatts of coal-fired electric capacity in the past year alone. That situation spells opportunity for natural gas. One reason that natgas is making inroads in the electric generating space is because it’s a whole lot cheaper today than it was just a few short years ago to use clean-burning natural gas to power electric plants. In 2008 the price of natural gas sold for an average of $13 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). Today? The price of gas has been bumping along at around $2.75/Mcf. In places like southwest Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio Marcellus and Utica gas sells for around $1.50-$1.75/Mcf. So it’s no wonder electric plants powered by natural gas are springing up all over the place. Below is a quick look at six such plants in eastern Ohio and West Virginia…
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Moundsville (WV) Electric Plant on Schedule for 2018 Opening

Since April of 2014, MDN has written about and monitored a new project to build a $615 million electrical generating plant in Marshall County, WV that will burn Marcellus Shale gas (see MDN stories about it here). Called Moundsville Power, the project received a final green light in February 2015. We also discovered the plant will burn not only methane, but ethane as well (see WV Moundsville Electric Generating Plant to Burn Methane + Ethane!). Moundsville Power continues to make progress. Project developer Andrew Dorn says they expect to break ground in early 2016 and have the new electric plant operating by June 2018…
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Big News: 3 More Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants Coming to WV

big newsThree weeks ago MDN reported a Buffalo, NY-based company had successfully gotten all necessary permits to move forward with building a $615 million, 549 megawatt electrical generating plant near Moundsville, WV that will be powered by Marcellus Shale gas (see Marshall Co Gas-Powered Electric Plant Gets WV Green Light). Then we told you the plant will burn not only methane (natgas), but also up to 25% of the mix will be ethane (see WV Moundsville Electric Generating Plant to Burn Methane + Ethane!). Looks like the Moundsville project was the proverbial canary down the WV coal mine–and it lived! In the past few days the father and son team behind the Moundsville project have announced three (yes 3!) more just like it–all in WV. Why is this a big hairy deal? The Moundsville plant was already slated to be WV’s single largest user/consumer of natural gas. Just think how much gas will be used quadrupling that number…
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WV Moundsville Electric Generating Plant to Burn Methane + Ethane!

Since April of last year, MDN has written about and monitored a new project to build a $615 million electrical generating plant in Marshall County, WV that will burn Marcellus Shale gas (see MDN stories about it here). Called Moundsville Power, the project received a final green light last week (see Marshall Co Gas-Powered Electric Plant Gets WV Green Light). Andrew Dorn, managing partner for Moundsville Power, recently shed more light on the project. Dorn gave a timeframe for when construction will begin, along with some other interesting factoids. Here’s something we didn’t know: the new plant will be one of the first in the U.S. to burn ethane…
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