No. 2 — AMP proves that Dirty Power Does NOT Equal Cheap Power
In November of this year, AMP revealed it will abandon its plans to build a 960 MW coal plant (AMPGS) near Letart Falls in Meigs County. According to the statement, the company said the change in course was the result of an unexpected 37 percent increase in the cost to build the 1,000-megawatt plant, which was last estimated at $3.25 billion.
A total of 81 AMP member communities in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and West Virginia were participants in the AMPGS project, which had been under development approximately six years as a pulverized coal (PC) facility with ammonia scrubbing emission control technology. OEC, OELC and others opposed this proposal from the outset because they disagree with the coal technology choice made by AMP-OH, for reasons associated with organizational environmental protection mission, but also due to serious and sincere concerns with regards to future costs and operational flexibility.
The Ohio Environmental Council hailed the announcement by American Municipal Power-Ohio (AMP-Ohio) that it has canceled plans to construct a proposed pulverized coal-fired power plant on the Ohio River in Meigs County.
Ever-growing costs doomed the plant, as cost projections grew from $2.5 billion just two years ago to close to $4 billion, today.
According to Marc Gerken, AMP President/CEO, the years of opposition of ENVIRONMENTAL & CONSERVATION ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS (Please stop with the dirty name calling, Marc, we are advocates not activists) had nothing to do with the change of heart of AMP to turn from coal to natural gas. “Contrary to what the activist groups who have opposed this project will assert, this conversion is not the result of their opposition efforts, our position in upcoming permit appeals, or load loss by our members (as the project is designed to reduce existing market exposure rather than to address growth),” said Gerken.
We completely agree with Mr. Gerken. Environmental advocates do not cause plants to be scrapped or shut down, we are merely the conduits of the reasons why such an antiquated idea of pulverized coal plants and its 7 million tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions in a soon to be carbon constrained climate is too costly and too risky for the utility and for our planet. The environmental, human health, and economic impacts stopped the plant, not lawyers, lobbyists, or community groups.
AMP – Ohio was the first utility in this state to build and utilize wind power. AMP-Ohio is actively developing multiple hydroelectric projects in the region, pursuing the largest deployment of clean, renewable run-of-the-river hydroelectric generation in the country. AMP-Ohio is also actively working on a very large and proactive energy efficiency resource package. Now that the six-year plan to build an antiquated coal plant , AMP Ohio can get back to the business of doing what it does best — being a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency in this state.
OEC expressed desire to create with AMP-Ohio a productive new model of project development, one where reasonable environmental advocates work in tandem with developers to move advanced coal projects forward, making community support, positive media, state and federal funding, and quick, limited-litigation permits far easier to achieve, has proven quite successful elsewhere, and is a promising prospect for Ohio. On this point we refer you to the work of the Clean Air Task Force and the Indiana Wildlife Federation and their collaboration with Duke Energy regarding the Edwardsport IGCC coal power project, which is moving ahead of schedule, will be given substantial state and federal support, and received with relative ease positive rulings and permits from Indiana regulators.
Such a partnership between AMP-OH and the OEC was our goal when we opened dialogue with AMP-OH in 2006., and we hope that is still an option as the new natural gas plant proceeds through the development process.