Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – A proposed energy plant whose developers backed away from a potential site near Williamsport last year may have found a new home in the industrial district on U.S. Route 23.
NTE Energy of St. Augustine, Florida, recently announced the Pickaway Energy Center as one of three natural gas-fired electric generating facilities being developed across the country.
The three facilities, which also include sites in Killingly, Connecticut, and Rockingham County, North Carolina, represent a total investment of $2 billion, according to the company’s press release. The Pickaway Energy Center alone will be capable of powering about 800,000 homes and represents a $900 million investment.
According to Hannah Jacob, NTE Energy representative, the proposed site will be located just south of Circleville and east of U.S. Route 23, which falls in Pickaway Township. Development and licensing will take about two years, with construction anticipated to begin in 2018.
Once approved, construction will be a 32-month process, she said, and the plant should be fully operational by 2021.
Ryan Scribner, economic development director for Pickaway Progress Partnership (P3), said he believes the industrial district is a location much better suited for the project than the Monroe Township site originally proposed.
The industrial district currently houses businesses like DuPont, PPG Industries and TriMold, and will soon include the new Sofidel plant announced last November.
“It seems to me like a much better fit from almost every perspective,” Scribner said. “It’s a little more conducive to that kind of development with compatible infrastructure, and it’s already zoned for industrial use. I don’t think they’ll see some of those same concerns the residents raised over the site in Monroe Township.”
Scribner said the project is complex and requires a permitting process and approvals that will take at least a couple of years.
“With this announcement, they are expressing their intent to move forward with those processes here,” Scribner said. “A lot has to happen between now and construction.”
Scribner said the dialogue to this point has been between the company and the current land owners, but as economic development director, he will be interested to explore how the project will benefit Pickaway County schools, townships and tax base in the future.
“We have these great big pipelines that have been built in Pickaway County, but the people making the real money are on the extraction end, and we’ve seen minimal benefit locally,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how a project like NTE captures some of that and taps into that a little bit instead of us being bystanders.”
According to the company’s press release, the three energy plants currently under development will be three of the most reliable, efficient and clean sources of capacity and energy in the eastern United States, employing advanced turbine technology in combined cycle configurations.
The Killingly Energy Center and the Reidsville Energy Center are approximately 500 MW each, and the Pickaway Energy Center will be approximately 1,000 MW. These facilities will provide a clean and efficient source of electric capacity and energy for their respective region – New England, the Carolinas, and the PJM wholesale electricity market.
The Pickaway Energy Center is expected to provide about 450 jobs during construction and will employ about 25 full-time positions during operation.
“Following the commencement of construction on NTE’s Kings Mountain Energy Center and Middletown Energy Center, we are excited to announce the next three projects in our portfolio,” said Seth Shortlidge, CEO of NTE Energy. “We look forward to developing efficient power to fulfill the growing demand for clean, reliable generation.”
NTE’s Kings Mountain Energy Center, located in Cleveland County, North Carolina, and Middletown Energy Center, located in Butler County, Ohio, are currently under construction, with expected commercial operation in 2018. NTE’s Pecan Creek Energy Center, located in West Texas, is expected to commence construction fall of 2016.
More information about the company can be found at www.nteenergy.com.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal