Commission grants approval to upgrade West Virginia power plants

PSC approval provides the opportunity for the Mitchell and two other power plants to continue operating through 2040.

WHEELING W.Va. (WTRF) Positive reaction is still coming in days after we learned that upgrades to West Virginia power plants have been granted. 

We took a look to see what the PSC approval means for the state’s traditional power supply resources. 

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The Public Service Commission approved on Wednesday the necessary investments to preserve the power plants in West Virginia.  

Along with this approval, the Commission also authorized the companies to implement a surcharge. Its purpose being to recover the construction cost. 

***WV PSC: Mitchell Power Plant to remain open through 2040***

Lisa Zukoff, house of delegate member in the 4th district of West Virginia says they recognize that further down the road, they may need to rely more heavily on renewable energy sources. 

We know here in the Ohio Valley that coal is a huge part of our energy future so we’re hoping that this is all going to be taken into consideration. Renewables are wonderful but do we have enough to make the change so quickly? I don’t think so.

Lisa Zukoff, house of delegate member in the 4th district of West Virginia

The Commission is concerned about the possible shortage of electricity that shutting down the Mitchell plant prematurely would cause. 

The PSC approval provides the opportunity for all three power plants to continue operating through 2040. 

This is huge, I mean we needed this, we needed this Public Service Commission ruling for our jobs, our community, our economy locally. This doesn’t end the whole discussion yet but it’s great news for us.

Lisa Zukoff, house of delegate member in the 4th district of West Virginia

However, the PSC only approved the work that needs to be done through 2028. 

West Virginia is playing the waiting game with its neighboring states as Kentucky and Virginia continued to threaten the ability to save these plants.  

Well, there is a lot of emphasis of electric vehicles, and you know powering America’s transportation sector by electricity but as we all know we have to get the electricity from our fossil fuels. There is just no other way to do it. So, the elongation of these three power plants to 2040 I think is very significant.

But I think that it will be well worth it for the jobs that we get to keep but also what we are doing in terms of security and powering the nation.

Shelley Moore Capito, United States Senator from West Virginia

 Capito says much more work lies ahead but this is a step in the right direction. 

However, not everyone is in favor of the PSC decision, the group Energy Efficient West Virginia says that this will lead to rate increases.   

The group is also looking into ways to appeal the decision. 

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