Advanced Power Energizes Columbiana County

WELLSVILLE, Ohio – The impact of Advanced Power’s $1.3 billion South Field Energy combined-cycle electrical plant near Wellsville is surging throughout this region of Columbiana County.

The plant – placed into commission Oct. 13 – not only provides enough energy to power  more than one million homes, it’s also a driver for community development.

The facility has been “a great boost” for the Buckeye Water District and its customers, according to district manager Al DeAngelis. 

“Buckeye Water District was an integral part of bringing South Field Energy here,” DeAngelis says. The BWD sold the company 45 acres near its water plant on state Route 45 for the facility.

“By this power plant coming in, it stabilized our water rates for a long time [which] will help us maintain financial stability so we don’t have to go back to our customers.”

Wellsville Local School District Superintendent Richard Bereschik says the South Field Energy plant has already been a financial boon for the district and that should continue in the future. 

Officials broke ground on the project in May 2019. More than 1,000 tradesmen worked on the project during its construction phase.

Over that three-year period, the district realized an initial payment from the company of $700,000 the first year, followed by $500,000 each of the next two years.

That $1.7 million enabled the district to implement safety measures officials had been eyeing, including installation of an alarm system and safety film on school building windows that can withstand explosions as well as placement of full-time school resource officers in each of the district’s three buildings. 

The district was also able to update major curriculum areas. “We were struggling [financially] with that every year, trying to update it.”

The district was also able to build a four-lane track and install a turf football field with revenue from the plant. 

Within two years of the plant starting operations, beginning in fiscal year 2023, the district stands to receive $1.5 million annually for the next 15 years or longer, which Bereschik says should ensure the district’s financial solvency for years to come. 

The plant’s construction has also given Yellow Creek Township township trustees the ability to provide residents with better service and equipment, according to Chairman Kenny Biacco. The township itself realized more than $1 million up front from the company upon signing a tax abatement agreement, he says..

That money enabled trustees to purchase new equipment and better maintain the 38 miles of roadway in the township. Once the plant is operational, Biacco says the township would realize another $250,000 annually over the next 12-14 years.

“It’s helped the economy a lot,” Biacco says.

Pictured: Advanced Power and an investor group own the South Field Energy plant.