MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – During a special meeting of the West Virginia University Board of Governors an amendment to the contract with Morgantown Energy Associates regarding the switch from waste coal to natural gas at Beechurst Avenue power facility.
As of January 1, 2020 the plant ceased electricity production and began producing only steam for both WVU campuses. The facility has been producing 50 mega-watts of power since 1992.
WVU vice president for strategic initiatives, Rob Alsop told the board an amendment was needed to allow the switch.
“We have a contract to take steam from MEA through 2027,”Alsop said,”They have made a proposal to the university to no longer produce steam with coal , but with natural gas boilers.”
Alsop explained the original coal-based contract was negotiated about 25 years ago and were based on coal and board authorization is needed substitute natural gas for coal.
“The existing contract price resets several times each year based on the price of coal, natural gas and industrial commodities,”Alsop said,”We don’t know the extent of the savings, but we do believe it will be more stable than the previous contract.”
Workers are expected to do finish the and switch the natural gas boilers in the spring when the university can shut the steam supply down for a few days.