FirstEnergy, AMP to build power plant in northeast Ohio

11/10/2012
BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

FirstEnergy Corp. announced Friday it will collaborate with American Municipal Power in Ohio to build and operate a natural gas-fired power plant in northeast Ohio capable of generating 873 megawatts of electricity.

The plant will be used during high demand. A local energy consultant said the plant’s greater benefit may be the positive effect it has on electric prices during future state-sponsored energy auctions that set electric service prices.

Mark Frye, a consultant with Palmer Energy Co. in Toledo, said the plant planned for Eastlake, Ohio, “represents a significant increase in generating capacity coming down the pike.” When the next energy auctions for FirstEnergy occur starting in October, 2013, the power from the plant likely will be factored into bids because the plant is set to begin operating before June, 2016.

FirstEnergy’s most recent rate plan, approved in July, runs from June, 2014, through May 31, 2016. Mr. Frye said bidders use a time frame that includes the effect of the new gas-fired plant on prices. One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes. The new plant will be similar to the Davis-Besse nuclear plant; Besse generates about 889 megawatts.

The plant will be on the premises of FirstEnergy’s closed coal-fired plant in Eastlake and will have four single-cycle, gas-fired combustion turbines. The Akron-based utility will build, operate, and maintain the facility on behalf of itself and Columbus-based AMP. Upon completion, AMP will own 75 percent of the power generated by the plant; FirstEnergy will own the remaining 25 percent.

Estimates on the plant’s cost and potential employees were not available.