Wednesday, June 07, 2006

West Virginia Could Get First Coal Gasification Plant

I saw poll at the Outpost last week rating Governor Schweitzers performance and there were folks ragging all over the place about Brian creating energy policy. They must love the effects of a successful energy policy, but the rest of us sure don't.

Charleston Gazette
(free subscription required)

West Virginia could get American Electric Power’s first coal gasification plant, thanks to some Ohio groups that say the way the project is being funded violates the law.

AEP previously announced it wants to build the electricity generating plants in Meigs County, Ohio, and Mason County, W.Va. The Columbus-based company started filing applications for the necessary approval from Ohio regulators before it did in West Virginia and figured the Ohio plant would be running first.

But the approval process could go faster in West Virginia than Ohio.

In March, two AEP subsidiaries asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to let it increase its customers’ rates to pay for the plant’s $23.7 million pre-construction costs. The commission OK’d the companies’ requests, but five groups filed petitions claiming the order violates Ohio law.

Ohio’s electricity generation utilities are deregulated, which means companies have to pay to build plants by selling energy into the market. West Virginia’s utilities are regulated, which means companies can pass on the cost of building a new plant to its customers, explained AEP spokeswoman Melissa McHenry.

Just another reason why regulation was better.

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