MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Construction of a coal-fired power plant near Morgantown is ahead of schedule and could be operational by fall 2010.
The Longview Power Plant in Fort Martin is 56 percent complete, said general manager Charles Huguenard.
Motorists heading north on Interstate 79 can see its white smokestack towering beyond the West Virginia University Coliseum.
Environmentalists have long opposed the project, and some protest signs remain near the site.
Longview originally planned to treat acid mine drainage from nearby underground mines, but Huguenard said that plan was abandoned because of water quality issues.
The Monongalia County Commission approved a $105 million plan for payment in lieu of taxes on the project, with 78 percent going to county government and 22 percent to the Board of Education over 30 years.
Longview paid $5 million when construction began, and the first payment upon operation will be $2.1 million.
GenPower Holdings LP, which is jointly owned by GenPower and First Reserve Corp., broke ground for the 695-megawatt plant last year.
It’s the first new coal-fired plant in West Virginia since the Grant Town power plant went online in 1993.