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Report: Korean Firm to Invest $150M in Lawrence County Power Plant

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NEW CASTLE, Pa. – South Korean-based KB Asset Management plans to invest $150 million into a new $863 million combined cycle power plant planned for Lawrence County, according to a Korean news site.

Maeil Business News Korea reported Monday that the funds would be pooled from major institutional investors that include pension and security firms, a signal that the once-dormant project is now moving forward.

Linda Nitch, director of economic business development at the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said that she believes most of the permits for the project have been approved through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and all that remains now is lining up the financing.

“I believe the financing is the last part of the puzzle,” she said. “This is a great project for Lawrence County.”

Lawrence County Administrator Jim Gagliano, also chairman of the North Beaver Township Planning Commission, said the project appears to be moving forward. “They just need to renew a couple of permits through the Lawrence County Conservation District,” that deal with storm water, erosion and sedimentation.

Plans to construct a natural gas-fueled combined-cycle electrical generating plant – The Hickory Run Power Station – were first announced five years ago, when St. Louis-based LS Power unveiled plans to construct what was then a $750 million facility.

In June 2016, Tyr Energy, based in Overland Park, Kansas, acquired the Hickory Run project. The company is an affiliate of Tokyo-based Itochu Corp. The company has a 50% stake in the project, and Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co. holds 30% of the project. Germany-based Siemens AG owns a 20% equity interest in Hickory Run.

According to its website, Tyr is an investor and developer of North American independent power projects. Its parent company, Itochu, owns interests in or develops independent power plants in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Tyr’s website lists 18 projects that include natural gas-powered generation plants, wind generation, and solar-powered arrays. These projects are operational or in development in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas, Alabama, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, and Minnesota.

At the time of acquisition, the company said that the project is ideally situated within the Marcellus and Utica shale basin, which contains a stable supply of natural gas.

Tyr Energy wants to build a gas-fueled power plant capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of energy. That’s enough power to supply about 900,000 homes with electricity. Once operational, the plant will sell to the PJM grid.

Officials have said that the project would create 500 construction jobs and about 20 permanent jobs. The plant would be located on the former American Cyanamid property, just off state Route 551 in North Beaver Township.

According to the report, the Korean investors will receive interest income plus repayment of the principal over eight years. The eight-year investment is expected to yield an annual profit of 5% each year.

The Hickory Run operation would be the fourth such combined-cycle generation plant announced for this region over the last five years. Work on a gas-fueled plant along Henn Parkway in Lordstown, Ohio – the $900 million Lordstown Energy Center – is underway while a second plant at the site, the Trumbull Energy Center, is under consideration.

Another plant, the South Field Energy station, is a $1.1 billion effort spearheaded by Advanced Power AG that is under consideration for Wellsville in Columbiana County.

Further south in Ohio’s Utica, Advanced Power AG is well into construction of a $900 million plant in Carrollton in Carroll County.

And, Houston-based EmberClear Corp. announced in September 2016 that it would build a $900 million plant in Cadiz, in Harrison County, as did Apex Power Group LLC, which wants to build a $1 billion plant in Guernsey County.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.