AEP unit plans coal-to-natural gas conversion at power plant

Appalachian Power, a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), requested approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission to convert two of three coal-fired units at the 705 MW Clinch River Plant to run on natural gas. The conversion is expected to cost around $65 million.

The plan also includes building a natural gas pipeline to serve the plant that would be constructed, owned and operated by a third party. Appalachian seeks approval by February in order to meet construction deadlines of 2015 and 2016. Both units are expected to be operational in 2016 and generate 484 MW of electricity.

Appalachian Power will close four existing power plants in Virginia and West Virginia by mid-2015.  AEP announced in March 2012 that it would retire the 235 MW Unit 3 by June 1, 2015.

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