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The Press Newspaper

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A plan to construct a new power plant that will provide electricity for up to 500,000 homes in Oregon was announced on Wednesday.

North America Project Development, LLC officials stated at a press conference that the Oregon Clean Energy (OCE) project includes the construction of a 800 megawatts (MW) gas fired combined cycle plant, using local labor up to 1,100,000 worker hours, over a 26-30 month period. The plant would convert clean natural gas to electricity.

The project represents a potential $800 million private investment.

“This is good for Oregon and Oregon’s construction industry,” Administrator Mike Beazley said on Wednesday. “Oregon is one of the largest energy economies in the Midwest, with our two refineries, and FirstEnergy’s Bay Shore power plant. As some of the Bay Shore plant is being phased out, it’s nice to replace that production with this gas fired plant, which is the direction that the market seems to be going right now.”

Plans call for the plant to be constructed just south of the BP Husky Refinery, between Wynn and Lallendorf roads, according to Beazley.

Oregon officials have been talking to North America Project Development, LLC officials about the project for over a year, said Beazley.

“As they’ve been going through their due diligence, we started exploring this location and doing site assembly over a year ago,” he said.  Oregon was attractive, he added, because of “the availability of land and access to the grid.”

“We also have sufficient water resources to meet their needs. The power plant will need millions of gallons of water per day. That makes Oregon a good location,” said Beazley.

The facility’s modern technology will consist of two combustion turbines with two Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) and a single steam turbine. The HRSG supplemental firing will allow a net generation of 800 MW throughout the year. Evaporative coolers will increase the combustion turbine output. And wet cooling with cooling water will come from the city.

The technology and environmental controls displaces power from aging/closing regional coal plants. The process is being compared to a vehicles catalytic converter, which converts toxic pollutants into less harmful emissions. The plant will produce 50 percent less carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour (kwh) of electricity versus coal combustion, say officials. There is also no need to stockpile coal or coal ash in the region.

“This plant will fill the void from the government regulations that negatively impact coal plants that produce electricity,” said Councilman James Seaman. “Natural gas is a lot cleaner and is the future for us. It doesn’t produce heavy metals like coal burners can. Natural gas is like a compromise between renewable energy and coal. It’s not as clean as solar and wind, but significantly cleaner than coal burning.”

The plant will likely operate 70 percent of the time, and add between 25-27 new full-time jobs in Oregon.

According to the project’s timeline, preliminary engineering was completed in June of this year; an air permit application to the Ohio EPA was submitted last month; a commitment to purchase power will be in November of this year; the facility will obtain all permits, including approval by the Ohio Power Sitting Board, by September, 2013; groundbreaking is planned for October, 2013; and commercial operations are expected to start in May, 2016.

The project’s advisors include:
• ARCADIS – Toledo/Columbus permitting experts;

• Mannick and Smith – Toledo Phase 1 environmental;

• Bricker & Eckler – Columbus legal analysis;

• NTE Energy – power marketing;

• Pterra Consulting – electric grid analysis;

• SAIC – power engineering;

• PPMS – plant economics;

• ESS Group – water resources.

“Obviously, on any project, it’s not done until it’s built,” said Beazley. “We expect it to happen. We feel great about this partnership. It’s an experienced team.”

Seaman, chairman of the city’s Finance Committee and a member of the Economic Development & Planning Committee, said Energy Investors Funds (EIF), a $4.5 billion energy equity fund, will arrange for 100 percent of the financing to build the project. EIF will also be the operator of the plant.

“There’s no risk to the city. There is no need for federal loan guarantees, federal subsidies, and special federal tax credits,” said Seaman.

The Oregon Clean Energy project will host open houses for the public this fall.

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