Gas-fired power plant going up in Lordstown, $890 million project will use Ohio and PA shale gas

LORDSTOWN, OHIO — Developers of a very large gas-fired power plant have finalized an $890 million financing package and are expected to begin construction immediately.

The Lordstown Energy Center will generate 949-megawatts of electricity —  more than the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Toledo — and enough power to supply 750,000 to 800,000 homes.

The electricity will flow into high-voltage transmission lines operated by the American Transmission System, a FirstEnergy company, and be available both locally and regionally in wholesale markets overseen by grid manager PJM Interconnection.

The project is expected to take a little more than two years to complete and involve as many as 450 to 500 union workers. Once built, though, the power plant will employ only 19. The power plant is one of seven planned or being built in Ohio.

The plant will burn natural gas produced from shale formations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Dominion East Ohio will build a 24-inch pipeline more than five miles from one of its main transmission pipelines.

The plant is a combined cycle gas turbine. This means the waste heat from the combustion in the turbine is used to make steam to spin an integrated steam turbine. A combined cycle turbine can produce as much as 50 percent more power than a traditional gas combustion turbine. The technology is far more efficient than traditional coal-fire power plants and produces about half the carbon dioxide.

Developers Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III, a $3 billion North American infrastructure fund created by the Australia-based investment fund Macquarie Group, and Siemens Financial Services are providing $400 million toward the project.

The rest of the financing will come from a group of international and U.S. banks, including KeyBank of Cleveland, according to the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

Clean Energy Future-Lordstown, LLC (the plant owners) and Siemens Energy of Orlando, Fla. will build the facility, which will use Siemens’ U.S.-made power plant equipment.

The regional chamber estimated the power plant will “have a positive impact on Lordstown almost equivalent” to that of the GM Lordstown assembly complex.

The economic impact on the region over plant’s 40-year life will be more than $30 billion, the chamber said.

Arno Hill, mayor of Lordstown, called the project a “dream come true.”

He said the project was first proposed two years ago but the village planning commission rejected it 4-to-1, overriding his one vote.

“I told them I will find you another site. It took this long. We had public hearings and nobody spoke against it,” he said. The plant will be built in the Lordstown Industrial Park.

The village gave the developers full property tax abatement for its first 15 years of operation, said Hill. But the company will pay the local schools a total of $20.25 million, starting with a $500,000 payment on May 1, Hill said. About 600 students attend Lordstown schools.