Longview Power Proposes a New Natural Gas Plant Plus 50 MW of Solar Generation

by Duane Nichols on March 26, 2019

Proposed Longview Power electric energy complex on Mason Dixon Line

Longview to make $1.2 billion investment in natural gas, solar power

From an Article Ben Conley, Morgantown Dominion Post, February 23, 2019

MORGANTOWN — Already operating one of the world’s most advanced and efficient coal-fired power plants, Longview Power is ready to invest an estimated $1.2 billion to build natural gas and solar power generation facilities.

Longview Power President and CEO Jeffery Keffer said the company plans to bring the new facilities online in 2020, making Longview an “all of the above” energy center.

The bulk of the investment, about $900 million, will go toward the creation of a natural gas combined cycle plant to be located near Longview’s Fort Martin Road coal facility.

While the gas plant will be significantly smaller, it will generate 1,200 megawatts, far outpacing the 710 megawatts generated by its coal-fired predecessor.

“This will be smaller, but more efficient in a lot of ways because of the type of equipment that’s used,” Keffer said of the gas-powered turbines at the heart of the plant. “We’ll be using the latest types of these so that we’ll have high efficiency. Again, the same idea that went into Longview — the latest equipment, most advanced technology and a fuel that’s abundant and easily available.”

The natural gas facility will be fed using a 6.2-mile, 20-inch gas pipeline that will run into Pennsylvania to connect with Trans Canada’s Columbia 1804 interstate transmission line.

Keffer said all necessary rights of way have been secured, and environmental studies and permitting procedures with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are well under way. Longview is working with Thrasher Engineering on the $30 million pipeline, the majority of which will run underground.

Once the natural gas plant is completed, the staging areas used in its construction will be part of a series of solar arrays covering 350 acres near the plant and in Pennsylvania. When the sun is shining, the solar arrays will generate about 50 megawatts, offsetting a significant portion of the power used to operate the coal plant.

“The solar takes about 350 acres and produces 50 megawatts, and that’s if the sun is shining. The gas plant takes 26 acres and produces 1,200 megawatts. That gives you a sense, you know, when people say we’re going to all renewables, I’m not sure where that’s all going to take place,” Keffer said, noting the solar arrays have an estimated cost of $70 million.

He went on to say that the two-plus-year buildout will likely generate about 6,000 construction jobs. The natural gas plant will likely generate between 30 and 40 permanent jobs.

“Using the infrastructure we already have here reduces our upfront cost. Where we can also economize is just in the number of jobs,” Keffer said. “Typically a plant like this would create maybe 50 jobs, permanently. We would be able to utilize our resources already here in terms of maintenance people, our accounting people and that sort of thing.”

As incentive to build the $2.2 billion coal plant locally, Longview entered into a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the Monongalia County Commission in 2008.

Commission President Tom Bloom said a separate agreement will be worked out regarding the upcoming improvements.

“We’re excited about the investment locally,” Bloom said. “Yes, we will need to set up another agreement. What that is, we don’t know at this time. It’s too premature to say exactly what that would look like.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Duane Nichols March 26, 2019 at 10:24 am

Comments prepared for Mon. Co. Commission, for March 13, 2019.

Comments on Longview Power, Past, Present, and Future; MVCAC, March 12, 2019

The Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition was an outgrowth of the issues raised by Longview Power and its impacts on the regional environment including the public health, air quality, roads, etc.

We participated in the Public Hearing on the PILOT Agreement held in ca. 2003 here in the Court House. We asked representatives of Longview if they would put into writing their promise to use WV coal, their promise to refrain from consuming water from the Mon River for cooling water, and their promise to be a “Zero Discharge” facility. We learned early on that all three of these promises were broken.

Longview elected to use coal from Pennsylvania, although they did use a conveyor belt to avoid extreme truck traffic on the local roads until recently. Trucking of coal there is a severe problem.

Longview decided to use Mon River water in their cooling and other operations, and installed Reverse Osmosis units to purify the river water.

Longview, from the beginning has not been a “Zero Discharge” facility. Their stacks emit large volumes of flue gases containing thousands of tons of carbon dioxide and many other chemicals in lesser quantities. The fly ash and bottom ash are waste discharges from the plant and go into the local environment. Their liquid waste pipeline flows north into Pennsylvania and down into abandoned mine operations, contaminating the water underground.

At the present time, the 300 (plus) heavy diesel trucks per day transport Pennsylvania coal from a Mon River dock up and over a steep unstable county road, thru the Ft. Martin community, up to the Longview Power plant. This road is the subject of severe damages due to the high level of truck traffic and the dangerous condition for auto drivers. Alternatively, the shorter and relatively flat road from the Cumberland Mine would bring this coal directly south from Pennsylvania to the power plant.

The vapor plume from the Longview power plant continues to obscure the western sky for the University High School and all those residents along Bakers Ridge Road, Pt. Marion Road, Stewartstown and the northern Cheat Lake area.

Longview is now proposing to construct a natural-gas-fired power plant in Ft. Martin, and add a solar panel farm nearby. The existing PILOT Agreement now in force represents a public agreement arrived at thru a process of limited public participation. Any modification to this agreement or adoption of any new agreements needs to be developed with the maximum of openness and public participation. A potential tax statement exclusive of a PILOT is a prerequisite.

Greenhouse gases, global warming and climate change can no longer be ignored. The burning of methane, ethane and/or other hydrocarbons must be offset with carbon taxes or other schemes. And, every effort should be made to locate the solar panels in West Virginia, not Pennsylvania.

Duane G. Nichols, Coordinator, Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition, Morgantown, WV 26508


Jim Kotcon March 26, 2019 at 10:34 am

From: Sierra Club, West Virginia Chapter
P.O. Box 4142​, Morgantown, WV 26504

Date: ​​March 13, 2019​

To: ​Monongalia County Commission

From :​​James Kotcon, Conservation Chair

RE: ​Recommendations for a Revised PILOT Agreement for Longview

​The West Virginia Chapter of Sierra Club supports efforts by the City of Morgantown to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and hopes that the Monongalia County Commission will do likewise. That is why the proposal for a natural gas-fired power plant by Longview is so disturbing. This one plant would likely undo all the progress that has been made, and dwarf any future actions that Monongalia County could take, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

​If the Mon County Commission is going to consider revisions to the “Payment In Lieu Of Taxes” (PILOT) Agreement, I urge some key provisions be included.

1) Any new fossil fuel plants must include carbon capture and sequestration. As the world continues to work toward reduced greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that some type of greenhouse gas emissions technology will be essential for long-term economic operation of fossil fuel plants.

2) Economic value estimates of a fossil fuel power plant must consider EPA’s Social Cost of Carbon (currently estimated at $30-50 per ton). ​EPA’s Social Cost of Carbon represents the true cost of emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While its use is not mandatory at this time for private projects such as Longview, it nevertheless is the best estimate of the true environmental cost of greenhouse gas emissions. Failure to include a cost of carbon means that we assume the cost of greenhouse gas emission sis zero, which is the one number everyone acknowledges is wrong.

3) A Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement must be developed with input from the public in the affected community.
​Past PILOT Agreements have been negotiated behind closed doors, and without input by those most directly affected. This is simply wrong, and should not be allowed in a democracy.

We believe that proposals that are not economic with the above conditions are unlikely to survive under the emerging carbon-constrained economy, and Mon County should not support them. We must recognize that investments in new fossil fuel facilities impose a real cost to future generations, and compete directly for investment dollars in more sustainable energy development.


Mary Wildfire March 27, 2019 at 10:03 am

Is there any way to comment to the newspaper, which ran the above piece of advertising as a news story?

They should not get away with such things as comparing the footprint of the solar arrays with that of the gas or coal plants, as though the fuel arrives magically on fairybeams from another dimension rather than coming from one ravaged area after another. The minute you stop that ravaging–blasting, “washing” coal, trucking, tossing overburden into creeks, drilling, fracking, injecting permanently polluted water by the millions of gallons into leaky reservoirs–those plants become useless.

Meanwhile, the solar arrays get their fuel from actual magic rays coming out of the sky, free. Or how about not acknowledging that Longview’s plan is to install 50 MW of solar essentially for its PR value while setting up yet another polluting fossil fuel plant in an area choked with them. It’s not like they’re replacing the current coal plant with the gas plant.

And then–saying the 50 MW will help offset the coal plant’s electricity consumption, wait! I thought the coal plant was a PRODUCER! It takes over 50 MW to run?? This is an assault on the Mon Valley and the local newspaper runs this glowing puff piece?

Mary Wildfire, Roane County, WV


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