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Marshall Co. makes plans for natural gas combined cycle power plant

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Members of the Marshall County Commission approved a resolution April 22 regarding a tax agreement with Moundsville Power LLC to advance plans for a $615 million natural gas combined cycle power plant.

Moundsville Power LLC is a single purpose development company formed by a group of Western New York businessmen with experience in construction, development, finance and energy, according to information from the commission. The group is planning to construct a natural gas combined cycle power plant on a 37.5 acre parcel of property south of Moundsville currently owned by Honeywell. The location is next to a Williams Energy fractionator and commonly known as the Allied Chemical site.

The project is expected to be a $615 million plant that will run as a base load facility generating power 24 hours per day, based on information provided by the Marshall County Commission. The power is expected to be sold into the PJM Interconnection. The project still needs to obtain state and federal approvals to develop and build the plant, but organizers anticipate construction to begin in 2015 and operations to begin by 2018. An application for an air quality permit with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was filed Oct. 7, 2013 by Moundsville Power LLC, but it has yet to be approved.

According to a December 2012 briefing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both Honeywell International Inc. and Olin Corporation had been performing various cleanup activities at the site under the oversight of the EPA. Those activities included constructing a hazardous waste landfill and installing a soil vapor extraction system. According to the EPA, Allied Signal operated the site from 1953 until 1980. In 1980, the southern portion of the site, known as the South Plant, was sold to LCP Chemicals-West Virginia which underwent a name change in 1990 to Hanlin Chemicals – West Virginia. Allied Signal sold the northeast portion of its facility to Olin in 1981. Allied Signal kept the northwest portion of the site called Allied Park. Allied Signal Inc. also underwent a name change to become known as Honeywell International.

The North Plant and the South Plant had “distinctly different chemical processes,” according to the EPA.

The project is being dubbed the first “downstream” project proposed to utilize natural gas produced in Marshall County and throughout the Upper Ohio Valley.

The agreement described by the commission as a step along in the approval process for the project, is a PILOT or Payment in Lieu of Tax Agreement. The PILOT Agreement sets a fixed amount of property taxes to be paid on the project for 30 years and allows developers to seek financing with a predetermined property tax liability. The $4.2 million in PILOT payments will stay the same under the agreement, even if future levy rates are reduced. The agreement still requires approval from the Marshall County Board of Education. PILOT payments generated by the project would be treated the same as property tax payments and would be distributed to both Marshall County Schools and the commission.

According to the commission, hundreds of construction jobs are expected to be provided throughout a 30-month period and 30 full-time associates will be employed at the plant.

The Marshall County Commission also must consider a resolution for a lease for the project, to work in conjunction with the PILOT agreement.