OPSB approves siting of AEP-Ohio clean coal power plant

 OPSB approves siting of AEP-Ohio clean coal power plant 

Columbus, Ohio (April 23, 2007) – The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) today approved AEP-Ohio’s proposal to site the Great Bend electric generation facility along the Ohio River in Meigs County. Once constructed, the facility will use Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) clean coal technology to generate 629 megawatts of electricity. 

In the IGCC process, coal is converted into cleaner burning synthetic gas, or syngas, that fuels combustion turbines to generate electricity. The Great Bend facility will use syngas cleaning technology that reduces particulates and air emissions including mercury and sulfur. The excess energy produced in the creation of syngas is captured and converted into steam that feeds another turbine, generating additional electricity. 

The Great Bend facility will connect to the regional electric grid through the existing 345 kilovolt Sporn-Waterford transmission line. AEP-Ohio anticipates that the project will cost approximately $1.1 billion and create 1,900 construction jobs and 125 permanent jobs.

On March 24, 2006, AEP-Ohio filed an application for a certificate to construct the Great Bend facility at its proposed site. The company supplemented its application on July 14, 2006, and on Nov. 27, 2006, OPSB staff filed a report recommending that the Board authorize siting at the proposed location. At a public hearing held in Pomeroy on Dec. 12, 2006, 12 citizens testified in favor of the project, and one was opposed.

On March 9, 2007, AEP-Ohio and OPSB staff filed an agreement settling concerns raised in the staff report. The agreement, approved by the Board today, includes 36 specific conditions that the company must meet to remediate the environmental and economic impacts presented by the construction and operation of the facility. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is currently considering cost recovery issues associated with the project. 

The OPSB reviews applications for the siting of large electric and natural gas facilities in Ohio. The 11-member board is comprised of representatives of the PUCO, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the state departments of Development, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Health, the Ohio General Assembly and the public. The Chairman of the PUCO also chairs the OPSB.

Additional information regarding this project is available on the OPSB Web site at www.OPSB.ohio.gov.