Pleasants Power Plant weighing options in hopes of staying open

WTAP News @ 11- Pleasants Power Plant PKG
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 5:22 PM EDT
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WILLOW ISLAND, W.Va. (WTAP) -Energy Harbor announced it will exit the fossil fuel business through a sale or deactivation of its pleasants power station in willow island, West Virginia next year in 20-23.

Jay Powell, Pleasants County Commissioner said this came as a great shock to many throughout the community. He said he is in talks with Governor Justice, as well as several federal representatives to seek out ways to make this transition as painless as possible for the 153 employees at the power station.

Powell said there are several fossil fuel companies that are interested in buying the station and that there may be a possibility to transition the coal-fired power plant to a green hydrogen plant.

“With these green hydrogen companies, they like the staff there, the infrastructure that was in place…they think there can be some synergy there,” Powell said.

“But, the timing, we need a couple more years in order to make that transition so ideally, you’d love to see that coal-powered power plant to operate a period of time and then make that transition and repurpose it for green hydrogen eventually.”

Powell said the plant received a $36 million state tax break throughout the years but that the plant has spent nearly $1 billion in investing in Pleasant’s County and the state of West Virginia. Powell said if the plant closes, a negative ripple effect will likely occur throughout every other sector throughout Pleasants County.

Karen Riddle, a Pleasants County resident, said her husband and brother both work at the plant. She said she’s concerned about what will happen to her brother and family if he were to lose his job.

“They help a lot with the schools and the community and everything else and the tax money, it’s going to take a big hit,” Riddle said It’s very scary. I’ve lived here all my life.”

Powell said he has the same fears as Riddle. But, he said he believes they can extend the deactivation status.

“We were fortunate enough a few years ago to accomplish that. We thought it would be longer, it’s not as long as we liked,” Powell said. “But our goal is to extend it again and the good Lord willing that will happen. It’s going to take a lot of work and it’s going to take some help from a lot of different people but we think it’s an achievable goal.”

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