Virginia

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Plant Receives State's First Carbon Sequestration Permit

13 May, 2009


Gov. Joe Manchin today announced that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection today issued its first carbon dioxide sequestration permit. An underground injection control permit for geologic carbon dioxide storage was issued to the Appalachian Power Company’s Mountaineer Plant located in New Haven.

“I’ve always said that we need to discover modern and more environmentally friendly ways to use the tremendous resource we have in West Virginia coal,” Manchin said. “That technology is here, today, and we are working hard to find even more innovative energy solutions that create jobs for West Virginians, while also protecting our environment. I welcome this partnership with AEP and commend them for their commitment to this carbon capture technology, because it will not only benefit our state with jobs and revenue, it will also benefit our nation in making clean coal a reality.”

While there are a number of pilot projects involving carbon sequestration around the country, including in neighboring states such as Virginia and Ohio, the Mountaineer Plant project is one of the larger ones in the nation.

The permit allows the facility to capture and inject up to a maximum of 165,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year over a period of four to five years, using a process called carbon capture and storage.

Carbon dioxide is captured from flue gas produced by fossil-fueled power plants, or industrial facilities, compressed to convert it from a gaseous state to a supercritical fluid, and transported to the sequestration site via a pipeline. The carbon dioxide is then injected into deep subsurface rock formations through one or more injection wells.

"This permit represents an important milestone in our plan to begin operating the carbon capture and storage system at Mountaineer in September," said Michael G. Morris, AEP's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The project is critical to the nation's goal of addressing greenhouse gas emissions, to AEP's compliance with future carbon constraints and to coal maintaining its important role in the nation's energy mix. When this unit begins operation, West Virginia will take center stage in the battle against climate change."

The governor said, “Carbon capturing is important to ensuring our energy independence, and that is why one of my bills this session established a framework for the permitting of CO2 sequestration operations.”

House Bill 2860 provides legal and regulatory framework for the permitting of carbon dioxide sequestration operations, including: the monitoring of the carbon dioxide sequestration sites; providing notice of the carbon dioxide sequestration operation to other surface owners; providing notice in the event of an excursion of the sequestered carbon dioxide; and, terminating a project and post-closure care of a carbon dioxide sequestration facility.

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