Kammer Plant helped usher in major changes to AEP

  • Kammer Plant developed to provide power for huge aluminum facility
  • Plant's employees have contributed to community, environmental stewardship over nearly 56 years
  • Employees, retirees enjoy reuniting at plant open house event

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. Unlike most other American Electric Power generating plants, Kammer Plant was not initially owned by the company. Its first two 210-megawatt units, placed into operation in 1958, were owned by the Ormet Corporation.

The plant, located on the Ohio River about 11 miles south of Moundsville, began in the midst of the postwar industrial boom, and since then it has served the community and its customers admirably.

Currently owned by AEP Generation Resources Inc., AEP’s competitive generation affiliate, Kammer is jointly managed and operated with neighboring Mitchell Plant by Kentucky Power. Kammer is made up of three coal-fired steam generating units with a total net generating capacity of 630 megawatts.

The plant officially closed on May 31 and decommissioning activities have been in progress since then, as part of AEP’s plan for complying with the Mercury Air Toxics Standards for existing power plants, approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011.

"I am really proud of Kammer Plant employees, present and past," said Mark McCullough, executive vice president - Generation. "The employees at Kammer have a long tradition of working safely, taking a disciplined approach to what they do, and, most importantly, caring for one another. They are an outstanding group of people."

At its peak, Kammer Plant burned 2.1 million tons of coal per year. The plant was built at its location to take advantage of the Consolidated Coal Company’s Ireland mine located across State Route 2. As the years went by, the coal has come from various locations as the facility met changing environmental regulations.

More about Kammer Plant

  • Stack height: 900 feet
  • Coal yard storage capacity: 500,000 tons
  • Annual payroll: $2.5 million (2014) $3.6 million (2013)
  • Payroll taxes: $1.2 million (2013)
  • Local property tax, state business & occupation tax payments: approximately $3.3 million

The plant achieved a record run for all three units combined of 118.5 days from June 6, 1973, to October 2, 1973. From March 25 to Nov. 1, 2001, Unit 1 concluded a record run during which the unit produced electricity continuously for 221.2 days. That run exceeded previous plant marks of 205.3 days in a row by Unit 1 in 1960; and 205.2 days in a row by Unit 2 in 1973.

The plant has accomplished much more than dependably producing electricity. Over the years, plant employees have been involved in local schools, blood drives, United Way campaigns and other community fundraising efforts, local sports leagues, local firefighting and emergency services, and more.

“Kammer Plant and its employees have been proud stewards of our community for more than 50 years,” said Dan Moyer, plant manager. “We appreciate the community and the support they have given us over this length of time.”

Moyer added that Kammer Plant employees have taken great pride in providing electricity while protecting air and water quality, recycling materials and maintaining an exemplary record of public and work safety.

Kammer’s shared grounds with Mitchell Plant include about 1,125 acres of meadows, old-field successional lands, wetlands and riparian forest formerly used for coal mining and industrial purposes that have been enhanced by habitat management activities laid out in a comprehensive wildlife stewardship plan.

The effort has included installation of wood duck, bluebird and bat nesting boxes, osprey nesting platforms and a 2.5-acre wildflower/butterfly garden, with employees working alongside government agencies, community and business groups. The Kammer-Mitchell site has been certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council.

"There have been ospreys nesting on our barge unloader structures at Kammer and Mitchell for years now," said Al Smith, energy production superintendent. "Even with the movement and noise from the operating of the barge unloaders, they continue to utilize the same nest areas. We also have red fox, geese, ducks, and deer that frequent the property.

"Kammer and Mitchell employees have always been dedicated to the environmental concerns of the surrounding wildlife and keeping the habitat areas intact," Smith said.

Open house held for employees, retirees at Kammer Plant

Russell Feist

Charlie Nolte

Neil Patterson

John Ray

Kammer Plant held an open house and luncheon for current and former employees at the plant's learning center April 24. More than 150 attendees enjoyed reminiscing with good friends, good food, photographs of employees and scenes at the plant through the years, and plant tours. (See photos of the open house in the slideshow at the top of the article.)

Several retirees who attended the event started at Kammer at the very beginning, including:

  • Russell Feist worked at Tidd Plant for 10 years before coming to Kammer in March 1958 as master maintenance man. "There was lots of construction going on then," he said. "I enjoyed the people and enjoyed the work." He retired in 1990 as maintenance supervisor with 42 years of service.
  • Charlie Nolte, payroll supervisor, arrived at Kammer in March 1957 and retired in 1988, with 40 years of service to AEP. Nolte worked at Windsor Plant for 10 years before coming to Kammer. Ann Shook and Jackie Sebulsky, retired employees who worked with Nolte in the accounting department, also attended the open house. "This plant was a good place to work. There are lots of good people here," he said.
  • Neil Patterson started in 1950 at Windsor Plant as a laborer and came to Kammer in November 1957 as auxiliary equipment operator, helping start up the first unit in 1958. He retired in 1994 as shift engineer. "When all is said and done, you remember the people you worked with, and the camaraderie," he said. He noted that both his own father and the father of fellow retiree Lou Melchiori (who also attended the open house) worked at Windsor Plant.
  • John Ray, shift engineer, had worked previously at Kyger Creek Plant and Tidd Plant. He arrived at Kammer in 1958 in operations and helped start up the first unit. As a startup engineer, he also worked at Muskingum River Plant and Cardinal Plant Unit 3. He retired with approximately 34 years of service with AEP and OVEC.

Also attending were former plant managers Greg Massey and Wayne Irons, as well as Chuck George, who started his AEP career at Kammer and is now plant manager at Cardinal Plant. Plant managers through the years at Kammer have been Houston E. Crouse, 1958-1966; Cecil Shay, 1966-1978; Nile Richmond, 1978-1981; P.E. "Gene" Bischof, 1981-1995; Ralph Life, 1995-1999; Greg Massey, 1999-2001; Wayne Irons, 2001-2010, and Dan Moyer, 2010-2015.

Senior Generation management attended to recognize employees and retirees, including McCullough; Dan Lee, senior vice president - Fossil & Hydro Generation; Toby Thomas, vice president - Competitive Generation; and Jeffery LaFleur, vice president - Generating Assets, APCO/Ky.