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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Air permit expected this month for power plant

Developers of a planned natural gas-fired electric power plant to be built in the City of Oregon anticipate approval this month of a final air emissions permit by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and a start to the construction of the $860 million project by the spring of next year.

William Siderewicz, a managing partner of North America Project Development, said Wednesday he expects the EPA to issue the air permit “within the next week or two.” 

There is a one-month appeal period to contest the air permit – the last of the major regulatory permits needed for the project, he said, but to date no one has contested the project during public hearings.

NAPD is building the 800-megawattt plant through a subsidiary, Oregon Clean Energy, LLC.

Siderewicz and William Martin, also a managing partner with the development firm, said they plan to complete requests for proposals by the end of this month for the hiring of firms to handle the engineering, procurement and construction phases of the project.

Martin said Oregon Clean Energy is committed to hiring local contractors and union labor to build the plant, which will be located on a 30-acre parcel on N. Lallendorf Road. Oregon Clean Energy has an option on an adjoining parcel if there is a need to expand the plant in the future, he said.

A construction schedule of 32-34 months is likely, Siderewicz said, adding it will require 475 to 525 workers and about 1.5 million worker hours.

“Everything we need for an energy project is right here,” Martin said of the local pool of skilled workers.

The plan is to have the plant operating by May 2017.

Energy Investors Funds, a private equity firm, is providing about 40 percent of the financing for construction costs and the balance will be covered by loans from commercial banks, Government funding won’t be involved in the project, Martin said. He and Siderewicz plan to retain an advisory firm   by next month to assist in the structuring of loans.

A preliminary analysis of the electrical market by NTE Solutions indicates the plant will have no trouble finding demand for the power it produces, Siderewicz said.

He and Martin intend to meet in the next few weeks with PJM, the regional transmission organization responsible for coordinating the movement of wholesale electricity over all or parts of 13 states that is conducting a technical analysis of the plant’s connection to the local grid. The analysis is due to be completed by September or October but preliminary results show that a planned 28-mile power line project between Perkins Township in Erie County and Sandusky Township in Sandusky County may impact the timing of the OCEC plant connecting and selling all of its power onto the grid.

“We may have to divert around it,” Siderewicz said.

Yet to be decided is what type of turbines will be installed at the plant. Martin and Siderewicz have narrowed the choice down to two manufacturers, Mitsubishi and Siemens, which have factories in South Carolina and North Carolina respectively.

The Oregon plant will have two turbines, which Siderewicz likened to “two giant jet engines.”

The turbines and related equipment represent about $200 million of the plant’s cost. Mitsubishi and Siemens have both offered to lend about $30 million to the developers for building the new plant.

The plant’s cooling tower will require about 3.5 million gallons of untreated water daily from Lake Erie and will dissipate about 85 percent of that into the atmosphere during the cooling process.  The rest will be piped to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Once operating, the plant will employ about 26 persons and have an annual payroll of $3 million. Salaries will range between $65,000 and $130,000.

The plant will be buying about $1.1 million in water and sewer services annually from the city and pay about $1 million in property taxes.

Mike Beazley, city administrator, said an abatement package will be offered but details haven’t been completed.

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