File Photo by Scott McCloskey
American Electric Power will invest in the Mitchell Plant, one of four plants in plans on investing in to keep them operational while complying with recently revised environmental regulations.

American Electric Power plans to keep Moundsville’s Mitchell Plant operating — with some new investments — as the energy company works toward complying with recently revised environmental regulations.

The Mitchell Plant — a 1,560-megawatt, coal-fueled power plant that has been operating since 1971 — is one of four plants AEP will continue operating that will meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Coal Combustion Residuals and Effluent Limitation Guidelines rules, according to a news release.

Three of the four plants are in West Virginia — Mitchell, the Mountaineer Plant in New Haven and the Amos Plant in Winfield. The fourth is the Flint Creek Plant in Gentry, Arkansas.

AEP will file compliance plans this month with the EPA for the coal combustion residuals rule, which provides a set of requirements for the safe disposal of coal ash. Because of that, AEP will remove 1,633 megawatts of coal-fueled generation by 2028. The company plans to close a Hallsville, Texas, plant in 2023 and a Pittsburg, Texas, plant in 2028.

The other four plants will remain, and AEP said that it will build dry-bottom ash handling systems — which use air rather than water to handle their coal ash — or new lined ash ponds, which prevent chemicals from leeching into groundwater and surface waters. These new systems will meet the EPA requirements, the company said.

The effluent limitation guideline rule affects steam electric power plants like Mitchell.

AEP said the new coal ash systems will be built and operational in 2023. Existing ash ponds at those sites will be closed and the ash will be moved to regulated landfills.

The Mitchell Plant employs 200 and uses an average of 11,000 tons of coal per day, according to an AEP fact sheet.

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