Public Service Commission Hearing on Longview II & III — January 6th @ 5:30 PM, Mon. County Courthouse

by Duane Nichols on January 3, 2020

Public Service Commission in Morgantown on Monday 1/6/20

Proposed Longview Power Gas-Fired Power Plant — Fact Sheet

Prepared by the West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club, PO Box 4142, Morgantown, WV 26504

What is Longview proposing?

Longview Power proposes to construct a 1200-MW gas-fired power plant in Monongalia County on 54 acres adjacent to their existing coal-fired plant near Fort Martin. They also propose adding a 20-MW solar farm to cover 127 acres on lands to the north of that site. Gas would be supplied by a 20-inch diameter pipeline from the TransCanada line in Pennsylvania(1). New roads, water lines and transmission lines would also be needed.

What else does Longview want?

Longview is also requesting a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) Agreement with Monongalia County(2). The proposed 30-year PILOT has not yet been approved, but would reduce Longview’s property taxes by over $200 million(3).

Doesn’t Longview already have a PILOT Agreement?

Longview has a PILOT Agreement for the existing coal-fired plant (Longvew I). This 30-year PILOT provided $108 million to Monongalia County. The coal-fired Longview I plant is rated at 695 MW, so the proposed 1200-MW plant (Longview II) is almost twice as large. Longview proposes to pay only $58,222, 513 under the proposed new PILOT for Longview II.

What are the environmental impacts?

While the air pollution emissions include 282 tons nitrogen oxides, 552 tons VOCs, and 175 tons fine particulates, and others pollutants each year, the emissions of over 3 million tons of greenhouse gases will be an important impact that is currently unregulated1. Gas-fired power plants often claim that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, however this ignores all the upstream emissions of methane associated with well drilling, pipelines, compressors, etc.

The Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change recommends that, to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 C, there must be a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Numerous scenarios are possible, but all involve rapid reductions in emissions of fossil fuel carbon, at least 50 % reduction by 2030, and almost all fossil fuel emissions must end by 2050.

How can this be achieved?

Technologies called Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) can capture the carbon dioxide from the exhaust stream, concentrate it, and pump it deep into the Earth, where it will remain indefinitely. Such technologies are already being used in some areas to enhance oil production. But the cost of retrofitting a plant is high, and the energy demand reduces the efficiency of power plants.

Use of biomass fuels is one alternative that recycles carbon dioxide in the air through photosynthesis, so no net emissions of carbon dioxide occurs. But if biomass fuels are used in power plants with CCS, the net effect is to remove carbon dioxide from the air. Currently, this is costly, but would become competitive if a carbon tax or cap and trade program were implemented.

Will the Longview II plant be economically competitive?

That depends on whether the electricity is needed. Under current market conditions, electricity from gas-fired power plants is cheaper than from coal. However, demand for electricity is not growing, so new generation facilities will compete directly with existing power plants. Longview’s economic analyses assume that electricity markets will remain stable, and ignores the need to address climate change. If greenhouse gas emissions are restricted, power plants may need CCS to remain compliant. Alternatively, as renewables become cheaper, even gas-fired plants may not be competitive.


1. PSC. Joint Application of Longview Power…. (Siting Certificate). Case # 19-0890-E-CS-CN. Available at:
2. Longview. 2019. Non-Binding Term Sheet – Longview Expansion Project. Sept. 11, 2019. Submitted to Monongalia County Commission.
3. Boettner, T. 2019. PILOT Agreements Cost State Millions in Tax Revenue: An In-Depth Look at Longview Power Plant. WV Center on Budget and Policy. Available at:


What you can do:

File a Letter of Protest with the WV Public Service Commission. Ask that the Certificate of Site Approval be denied unless Longview installs carbon capture to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Be sure to include the reference to Case # 19-0890.

Mail letters to: Connie Graley, Executive Secretary, West Virginia Public Service Commission, 201 Brooks Street, Charleston, WV 25301.

Or file comments on-line Protesting Case Number 19-0890 at:

Attend the Public Hearing. The PSC will hold a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 at 5:30 PM at the Monongalia County Courthouse, 243 High Street, Morgantown. You can present your comments in person at that time.

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