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Published: Thursday, 5/2/2013

Siting board OKs $860M power plant

Oregon project could begin in June


The Ohio Power Siting Board in Columbus on Wednesday approved a Boston-based energy group’s request to build a 799-megawatt, natural-gas-fueled power plant on 30 acres in Oregon.

The $860 million project, known as Oregon Clean Energy LLC, still needs approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which will hold an informational meeting Wednesday to answer questions about the required draft air permit.

But with conditional approval now given by the power siting board, the project’s developer, North American Project Development LLC, says initial construction of the plant could begin in June.

The plant will consist of two natural-gas-fired turbines that are combined cycle units — that is, they generate electricity by burning natural gas but use the heat given off from the natural gas burners to create steam and generate additional watts with a steam turbine.

The permit application approved Wednesday says the plant could be ready for operation as early as May 1, 2016. The plant is to be located in the Cedar Point Development Park off North Lallendorf Road just south of the BP-Husky refinery.

The siting board’s staff recommended the application be approved because nearly 6 gigawatts of electric generation capacity are scheduled to go offline permanently in Ohio in 2015, including 2½ gigawatts in FirstEnergy Corp.’s territory. The Oregon Clean Energy plant could help offset a significant portion of that lost 2½ gigawatts. The Oregon facility would help ensure electric service reliability and price stability.

Additionally, the application states that construction of the plant would create an estimated 532 temporary construction jobs and $225 million in direct expenditures in Lucas County during the 35-month construction phase. The facility would employ 25 full-time workers and create 27 ancillary jobs in the county, the application states.

During construction, there would be temporary and, later, permanent effects to the area and surroundings, but the siting board staff said the impact would be minimal compared to the benefits of the project, and the environmental impact would be minimal.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.

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