On Tuesday, members of the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce took a tour of the facility prior to eating lunch, which was catered by the Eastern Star Group. Following the meal, Brian Sherrick, Project Manager II Generation GET PRJ Env. Programs I, gave a presentation detailing the Mountaineer Plant’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Validation Project.
The economy as well as environmental changes were discussed during the presentation. According to AEP representatives, the political landscape changed drastically in 2008 as did the regulatory terrain.
The plant is now working collaboratively with the new administration on a national energy policy and its connection to the environment and the economy. In addition, the plant is advocating for the rapid development of advanced technology to allow coal to be used in a more environmentally acceptable way, such as the Mountaineer Plant’s CCS project.
The past year has been one AEP’s best in terms of environmental performance. The company brought two more scrubbers online at its power plants; reduced energy consumption in office buildings; installed three additional advanced energy storage batteries on its system; and deployed the first 10,000 smart meters.
AEP’s vision for sustainability states that “American Electric Power will be an energy leader through programs and technologies that protect people, manage our impacts on the environment, promote energy efficiency, enable customer control over electricity usage and provide for greater access to renewable forms of energy and advanced clean energy technologies.”
According to Jerry “J.L.” Perry, AEP Mountaineer has 197 full time employees as well as several part time employees. He also said that the economy has had a negative effect on the company. For example, the plant lost its largest customer when Ravenswood’s Century Aluminum closed.
“It is a big balancing act with the economy,” Perry said. “Century Aluminum was our biggest customer. How we raise our rates has a huge impact on the economy.”
In other chamber business:
• It was reported that there will be no more chamber luncheons for the 2009 year. Luncheons will resume in January 2010.
• Sharon Stapleton, chamber board member, reported that the chamber’s Christmas social is currently being planned. A date and time for the social will be announced at a later date.
• Stapleton reported that businesses are encouraged to sign up to host one of the chamber’s “business after hours” events for the 2010 year.
For more information about the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce, call (304)-675-1050.