Economic Development

Tax Abatement Vote Tonight for $800M Power Plant

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LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Village Council will meet tonight to vote on an incentive package for the $800 million natural gas fueled electricity plant that Clean Energy Future LLC of Boston plans to build at a site off Henn Parkway in the Lordstown Industrial Park.

If approved by council, the incentive package “would be forwarded to the Trumbull County commissioners for their blessings,” says Mayor Arno Hill.

Terms include a 100%, 15-year tax abatement on all real and personal property, according to the mayor.

“If all the stars align, they’ll probably break ground in October,” he says.

Clean Energy Future first selected a site on Salt Springs Road for the project, announced last spring, but public opposition based on its proximity to residential areas quashed the company’s petition to rezone the site for industrial use.

After the Henn Parkway site, which is zoned industrial, was selected in January, Hill says he and Clean Energy executives began to work the terms of the abatement. “We looked at the math to see how to keep it in Lordstown. We put in a lot of hours to get their project to come around.”

Another variable was gaining access to transmission lines so the company could sell capacity to PJM Interconnection, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states through an auction process. All the necessary agreements are now in place, the mayor says.

Bill Siderwiscz, president of Clean Energy Future, told The Business Journal in April that his company is in the process of securing all the necessary permits from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Power Siting Board.

The energy plant would consist of two gas-fired combustion turbines, two heat-recovery steam generators, one steam turbine, technologically advanced emission controls, and high efficiency wet cooling towers. It would produce 800 megawatts of electricity, or enough power to serve 500,000 homes.

The equipment will be made by Siemens Corp. at one of its plants in North Carolina, Siderwiscz said. Local contractors and suppliers also stand to get a big share of related business. “It should have a $1.5 billion positive impact on the region,” he estimated.

Some 550 union skilled tradesmen would be employed during the three-year building phase. When the plant is operating at full capacity, it’s expected to employ as many as 30 full-time with an annual payroll of $3.7 million.

The tax abatement to go before Village Council tonight calls for Clean Energy Future to pay the Lordstown public school district $1 million annually for the first five years of the plant’s operation, $1.25 million the second five years and $1.5 million the third five years. During each of the three years it will take to build the plant, the company has agreed to pay the school district $500,000.

“We’re ecstatic,” Hill says. “This is a win-win for everyone.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.