Columbus Business First
Ohio is home to a number of coal-fired power plant retirements. Shale oil and natural gas fields, meanwhile, have attracted drillers and pipeline companies.
Coal is still the most-used fuel to create electricity, but gas is on the upswing and at least 10 plants are in some stage of development in the state.
One way to measure the changing dynamics is to look at proposed construction of new power plant builds. It’s clear that Ohio is becoming an attractive state for new power generators that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build, and they’re mostly powered by gas, not coal.
Many of the proposed plants are in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale region, where pipelines have sprouted to transport the fuel for use in different industries and in power plants. If all are built, they will total about 9,800 megawatts in capacity. Roughly 1 megawatt is enough to power 1,000 homes.
Clean Energy Future is building four of the plants– two neighboring plants in Trumbull County and two in Lucas County. Bill Siderewicz, president of the Boston-based developer, said those factors and a sizable state population has led to a “mismatch” developers are seeking to cash in on.
The new budget request from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the state agency that regulates both fossil fuels, further shows the growing gulf between the fuels, as the agency’s director says falling revenue from coal severance tax receipts is “an imminent threat” to protecting Ohioans. Coal jobs at the agency are shifting to the oil and gas division, too.
What follows is a Columbus Business First analysis of the gas-fired plants in development, gleaned from Ohio regulatory data and public declarations, on where the plants are, how much power they will hold and who is building them.
Tom Knox covers Ohio State University, public policy, energy and manufacturing.