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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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A proposed electrical power plant in the City of Oregon would be able to offset a large portion of the more than 6 gigawatts of capacity scheduled to go offline in 2015 due to federal environmental regulations, William Martin, a managing partner of North America Project Development, LLC, testified during a hearing Tuesday before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

The company’s subsidiary, Oregon Clean Energy, has applied to the PUCO’s Power Siting Board to develop an 800-megawatt generation station on a 30-acre parcel near the intersection of North Lallendorf Road and York Street.

During the hearing, Martin testified that more than 2.5 gigawatts of capacity of the 6 gigawatts set to go offline are in the service territory of First Energy.

“This project is an 800-megawatt project and it’s also located in the First Energy service territory,” he said. “It does offset a large portion of the 2 ½ gigawatts of capacity that are scheduled to go offline which goes a long way towards ensuring reliability and price stability in the service territory.”  

He said the project would create about 500 construction-related jobs and operation of the plant would create about 25 full-time jobs.

Although Oregon Clean Energy has been targeting the summer of 2016 for the plant to begin operating, Martin told the siting board that may be pushed back by several months.

He said the start-up date is contingent on the results of a feasibility facility study by PJM, the regional transmission organization responsible for coordinating the movement of wholesale electricity over all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Martin testified he met with PJM the day before in Pennsylvania.

“I think that (study) process will lead us to a fall of 2016 or, perhaps, even a spring of 2017 start date,” he said.

Pending PUCO approval, construction could start this summer, according to documents the company has filed with regulators.

The siting board staff has recommended the developer’s application for a certificate of public need and environmental compatibility be approved.

A board hearing held April 2 in Oregon City Council chambers drew support from city officials, business groups, and labor representatives.  No one spoke in opposition to the plant, which would be powered by natural gas instead of coal – a factor noted by a few of those who testified during the hearing.

Martin testified last week his company was the original developer of a 700-megawatt generating plant in Fremont, O. where the company partnered with Calpine.

William Siderewicz, a partner in Oregon Clean Energy, was an executive with Calpine at the time.

After the Fremont plant was sold, Martin said he and Siderewicz began analyzing the electrical market in Ohio, focusing on the northwest corner of the state.

With several coal-powered plants set to be retired, the two saw opportunity for gas-powered plants.

Martin told the board he retained the same real estate firm that located the Fremont property and hired a Toledo-based environmental firm to assess the area.

He said the Oregon site was the only one that met all of the company’s criteria.

“We looked at a number of sites that were good, but usually something was missing, it’d be different in each case, and you really can’t afford to have any criterion missing or weak, and this project met all our criteria,” he told the board.

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