As AEP and the public await a decision from the Public Utilities Commission on the power company's proposed cost recovery plan, AEP continues to oversee and perform site preparation work, in order to keep the proposed plant on a pre-construction schedule.
AEP spokesman Jeff Rennie said the drilling of soil core samples was completed, and those samples are now being tested. AEP is now overseeing the completion of a study of the site's underlying geological structure. That is, ensuring that the underlying geology can support the plant's footprint.
An independent firm is completing an historical survey of the 1,300-acre site near the Ravenswood, W.Va., Bridge. That study determines that no significant historical artifacts will be disturbed by the construction.
These studies will be required for the permitting process through the Ohio Power Siting Board and other permitting agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When the work began last fall, Rennie said the preliminary work is being completed before the cost recovery plan is decided, in order to keep the five-year construction plan on schedule.
The comment period on AEP's cost recovery plan ended in October, and the PUCO has not yet issued a final ruling on whether the power company can collect construction costs before the plant is operational - an unusual request for most proposals.
AEP hopes the plant's construction can begin by the end of this year, and that it can be operating by the middle of 2010.
Rennie said AEP knows no more than the general public as to when the PUCO might rule on the cost recovery plan.