MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — A state lawmaker from Marshall County believes his constituents need to know the stakes if a major coal fired power plant in northern West Virginia closes down.
For now, the American Electric Power Mitchell Power Station is due to close in 2028, but they have requested permission from the Public Service Commission to make upgrades which could keep the plant operating as far out as 2040. Those upgrades would require a rate increase, which would have to be agreed upon by the PSC.
“Just to keep it open will cost us pennies on our electric bill. I would rather pay the pennies, keep it open, and keep the people working,” said Del. Charlie Reynolds, R-Marshall County.
He’ll host a town hall meeting at the Moundsville Fire Hall Tuesday night to talk about the possibilities.
“The Mitchell Plant is an enormous economic engine here in Marshall County. We can’t afford to lose the income,” he said.
The plant generates millions of dollars in the local tax base, creates $35 million in wages, and provides close to 180 full time jobs according to WVU researchers. Reynolds worried the closure could create a cascading effect throughout the economy and spread from one employer to the next, ultimately impacting teachers, and other county employees as the property tax base is depleted.
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) May 25, 2021
Reynolds, speaking on MetroNews “Talkline,” said he wasn’t opposed to alternative forms of power or green energy sources, but said our region is not at the point where it’s a dependable option. He said the plant is too valuable to the local economy and community. He worried about the blackouts experienced in Texas earlier this year where dependence on green energy sources was partly blamed for widespread outages.
“It’s going to hurt big time, and we would have to bring power in from other sources, form outside entities. We’d have to raise revenue and raise rates, so you’re just going to have to do it if you want to save the jobs.. If not, you’re going to have foreign countries involved,” he said.