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W.Va. regulators approve construction of 830-MW gas plant

The Public Service Commission of West Virginia on Feb. 20 approved the construction of an 830-MW natural gas-fired plant proposed by a private developer.

The PSC in a Feb. 20 news release said it granted a siting certificate to ESC Brooke County Power I LLC to build and operate the merchant electric generation facility in Brooke County, W.Va., in the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' Cross Creek Wildlife Management Area. The project consists of two combustion turbines and one steam turbine with a price estimated at $884 million.

The power generated by the plant will be delivered to a new 345-kV substation that will be built and owned by FirstEnergy Corp. "The facility will receive natural gas and ethane from dedicated pipelines to be constructed and operated by third parties under contract to the company," the news release states. (W.Va. PSC docket 17-0521-E-CS)

The commission's decision came just days after FirstEnergy said it would deactivate and attempt to sell its 1,300-MW coal-fired Pleasants plant in Pleasants County, W.Va., after being unable to transfer ownership of the plant from an unregulated affiliate to a regulated utility subsidiary.

ESC Brooke County Power, an entity of private developer Energy Solutions Consortium LLC, expects construction to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2020 with the plant online in January 2021. On its project website, the developer said the power plant will consume the equivalent of $177.5 million in natural gas annually.

Energy Solutions was the original developer of the Moundsville Power Project, a 673-MW gas-fired project in Marshall County, W.Va., now controlled by Quantum Utility Generation, a private developer tied to private equity firm Quantum Energy Partners.