Longview: Powering today, energized for the future

MAIDSVILLE, W.Va.- At $2 billion Longview Power L.L.C. is the largest private investment in the West Virginia economy and employs 150 people that deliver some of the cleanest and most efficient coal-produced electricity to the grid in the world. Now, the company will pursue a major expansion.

President and CEO Jeff Keffer says currently they have 710 megawatts of capacity that is used by 500,000 homes in the 13-state PJM regional transmission organization.

“We’re dispatching into PJM continuously, when we’re available,” Keffer said,”We do it in a way that is very environmentally friendly, because our emissions are among the lowest of any coal-fired power plant in the world.”

The plant meets or exceeds Best Available Control Technology by reducing more than 99 percent of the particulate matter during the combustion process and nearly all of the by-products have value in other markets.

The bottom ash is sold to a local asphalt producer and the fly ash is used in the production of concrete and cement.

The spent limestone used in the scrubbing process is gypsum. Gypsum is used to produce wallboard, however most of the producers are too far from West Virginia to make it economically viable. Keffer believes that market will open to them when the older, less efficient power plants go off-line.

Keffer says expansion makes sense because most coal plants in West Virginia are well over 30-years-old and are not being upgraded.

Next the company will add a 1270 megawatt advanced natural gas turbine and 300 acres of solar panels that will produce another 70 megawatts of electricity.

The construction will be done by union labor and will support up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs. Upon completion, the workforce will grow to 180 workers with an annual payroll of $22.5 million.

Keffer says they are wholesale power provider that gives them unique place in the energy marketplace.

“We don’t have any kind of ratepayer base or public service commission that specifies what our rates are,” said Keffer,”We simply get what we receive from PJM and they’re the ones that dictate the process to us, it’s a very competitive marketplace.”

Keffer says the combination of highly advanced clean coal, natural gas and solar electrical generation options positions them to be a leader in an evolving market. There are some major companies that prefer renewable energy and are willing to pay for it.

Keffer said,”Facebook, Google and Amazon are very interested in procuring electricity from renewable sources like our solar facility and they recognize to do that they need to pay a premium.”

Company officials are hopeful that construction can begin by early 2021, the gas turbine could be online by late 2023 or early 2024.

The current PILOT agreement pays Monongalia County $105 million over the life of the plant, the new PILOT for the expansion will add $58 million to the figure.

Keffer said,”It is significantly higher, it’s actually twice as much as what has been agreed to for the two gas plants being built in Harrison and Brook Counties. It’s a very good deal for Mon County, the commissioners did a very good job.”