Recently, AEP representatives attended the Town of New Haven Council meeting as well as the Mason County Commission meeting. Local AEP contacts are Charlie Powell, plant manager, Mountaineer Plant; J.L. Perry, energy production superintendent, Mountaineer Plant; Dave Hall, project coordinator, Mountaineer Plant; Brian Sherrick, CCS Project manager; Gary Spitznogle, CCS Project engineering manager; Rob Bollinger, CCS Project storage manager; Steve Stewart, Appalachian Power community affairs manager; and Jon Buck, AEP Ohio, community affairs manager.
According to AEP, the Mountaineer Plant, located in New Haven, burns around four million tons of coal each year. Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide emissions are currently not regulated. In anticipation of new carbon dioxide regulations and to address global climate change issues, AEP is now developing strategies and technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The current CCS validation project captures carbon dioxide from the flue gas and pumps it 1.5 miles underground in deep geological formations — trapped by layers of caprock — for permanent storage. Carbon dioxide capture began on Sept. 1, 2009 and storage started on Oct. 1, 2009. The project also enabled the Mountaineer Plant to provide 300 temporary construction jobs as well as eight permanent jobs.
According to AEP representatives, the next step is to take the CCS technology to the commercial scale. In December of 2009, the U.S. DOE granted funding for 50 percent of the project costs up to $334 million of a new project to take the CCS technologies to a commercial scale. Project partners and participants are still being identified, and operation is slated to begin by the end of 2015. The project is expected to capture and store up to 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from a 235 MWe slipstream of flue gas. The DOE’s project oversight activities are coordinated through the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Morgantown office. AEP representatives estimate that the project will produce 800 temporary construction jobs and 30 permanent positions.
To help do this as well as explain the project to the public, AEP Mountaineer has had several groups tour the facility, including organizations from as far away as Japan.
According to AEP representatives, the company is leading the U.S. electric utility industry in taking action to reduce green house gas emissions through a broad portfolio of actions, including the carbon capture and storage initiatives.