AEP delays start of clean coal plants in Ohio, West Virginia

AEP delays start of clean coal plants in Ohio, West Virginia

One of the nation’s largest power generators will delay construction of two clean coal plants in Ohio and West Virginia for at least six months after studies showed they will cost more than expected.

American Electric Power said the plants aren’t in jeopardy and are still expected to go online between 2010 and 2015.

AEP told Ohio officials about the delay last week. It requested extra time in West Virginia, where an extension is subject to regulatory approval.

“We’re still totally committed to the technology,” AEP spokesman Pat Hemlepp said. “We’re still totally committed to the projects.”

Each plant was priced at $1.3 billion, about 20 percent more than the cost of a plant without the clean coal technology, Hemlepp said Friday. Studies have found that rising steel, concrete and labor costs will make the plants more expensive. A new price tag has not been determined.

AEP wants more time to see if expenses can be cut.

Both plants are to be built along the Ohio River. The plant in Ohio will be built in southeast Ohio in Meigs County; the plant in West Virginia will be in New Haven.

The plants would strip away pollutants responsible for smog, soot and acid rain. They also could be retrofitted to capture carbon dioxide, a gas linked to global warming.

AEP delivers power to more than 5 million customers in 11 states.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,

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