New York-based Energy Solutions Consortium LLC is considering constructing two natural gas-fired power plants in Brooke County, WV, that could cost more than $1 billion.

According to reports, the company took an early step in the process on Tuesday when it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Brooke County Commission for a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement that would find it paying a combined $50.6 million over 30 years to the county in exchange for the rights to operate both plants at the proposed site.

A spokesman for the company said it is still early in the process, but Energy Solutions is considering purchasing property at the site of the former Wheeling Corrugating plant in Beech Bottom, WV, in the state’s northern panhandle, which is near the Ohio River and both the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Early plans call for constructing a 550 MW plant and another 750 MW plant. Those facilities could create 60 full-time jobs and another 400 during construction. The plants are the latest proposed to fill the void expected to be left by retiring coal plants in the region (see Daily GPI, Feb. 18, 2015; Jan. 13, 2015; Nov. 3, 2014) . Energy Solutions is already involved in plans for a 549 MW natural gas-fired plant in Marshall County, WV (see Daily GPI, April 22, 2014).

A spokesman said the MOU would keep the site in consideration. If the company decides to go forward with the project, its plan must be assessed by regional grid operator PJM Interconnection.

Coal has historically been the dominant fuel for power generation in West Virginia. Even with emissions restrictions on coal and the rise of Appalachian shale plays, the state still turns to natural gas for less than 1% of its electricity generation.