A proposed natural gas-fired electric power plant in the City of Oregon received support from those who testified Wednesday during a hearing conducted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on the plant’s draft permit for air emissions.
The economic benefits to the region from the $860 million project and the environmental advantages it would provide over facilities that burn coal were mentioned frequently during testimony.
Mike Beazley, city administrator, said the new plant “…is about the switch from old technology to new technology,” alluding to a coal-fired plant operated by FirstEnergy on BayShore Road that is being downsized. He said the developers behind the project are “tremendously reliable people to work with.”
By some estimates, more than 2.5 megawatts of capacity of six gigawatts generated by coal that producers are planning to take offline in 2015 due to tighter environmental regulations are in FirstEnergy’s service area.
North America Project Development, LLC, through a subsidiary called Oregon Clean Energy, is proposing to build an 800-megawatt plant on Lallendorf Road.
In its air permit application, the company has included data on pollutant levels from two different types of turbines, Mitsubishi and Siemens.
According to data filed with the EPA draft permit, emissions from the facility would include nitrogen oxide, (199 tons per year); carbon monoxide (378 TPY); volatile organic compounds (114 TPY); particulate matter of less than 10 microns (94 TPY); particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns (90 TPY); sulfur dioxide (34 TPY); sulfuric acid (11 TPY); lead (.00008 TPY) and greenhouse gases (2.8 million TPY).
All but the sulfur dioxide and lead emission levels are subject to what are called Prevention of Significant Deterioration levels.
“Predicted impacts of carbon dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide were below their corresponding PSD significant impact increments so no additional modeling by Ohio EPA to demonstrate protection of both the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and PSD increments was required,” the draft permit says. “Impacts of the toxic pollutants subject to the modeling review met the Maximum Allowable Ground Level Concentration.”
James Seaman and Mike Sheehy, members of city council, said the abundance of natural gas presents a cost advantage for the proposed plant and the region has available skilled labor to build it.
Mayor Mike Seferian testified he and Beazley toured a plant in Fremont constructed by another subsidiary of North America Project Development and in two years have heard no negative comments about the project.
Ron Eicholt, of Oak Harbor, said he agreed with much of the testimony but questioned what the effect would be on Lake Erie from the amount of water drawn to service the plant’s cooling tower system.
A charter boat captain, Eicholt said sport fishing is a major industry between Cleveland and Toledo.
William Martin, a managing partner of North America Project Development, said the plant would draw three to five million gallons of raw water daily from the lake, linking to a city main line before it is treated.
Water that is discharged from the plant would be piped to the city’s treatment plant.
Written comments on the draft permit must be sent by May 13 to Matt Stanfield, Toledo Division of Environmental Services, 348 S. Erie St., Toledo, O. 43602.