Siting Board OKs $850M Lordstown Power Plant

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio Power Siting Board today cleared the way for Clean Energy Future-Lordstown to construct a $850 million natural gas-powered electric plant in the village.

“It’s been a long 20 months,” says Mayor Arno Hill. “Clean Energy first started looking in Lordstown a year ago January.”

Clean Energy Future wants to construct an 800-megawatt electrical generation plant on 17 acres along Henn Parkway, just off state Route 45 here. The plant would provide enough electrical power to supply 700,000 single-family houses.

The approval of the Power Siting Board was the last hurdle in terms of the permit process, Hill says. An air quality permit was approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency about three weeks ago, he notes.

All that remains is putting the final touches on financing for the project and a definitive agreement with FirstEnergy Corp. to use a right of way under that utility’s existing power lines in order to reach a substation.

However, all of those issues appear to be on track and should be in place soon, according to conversations Hill says he has had with Clean Energy’s president, Bill Siderewicz. “Everything I’m hearing from Bill is positive, and it looks good to go. Financing is wrapping up, and I know of no roadblocks. We just have to wait out the appeals period.”

The siting board’s decision is subject to a 30-day appeal period, and since there was no opposition to the project, Hill believes any appeal would lack standing. “No one has complained,” he says.

That means site work on the project could begin as early as the end of next month, Hill says. The plant is expected to become operational by May 2018.

Boston-based Clean Energy has negotiated an agreement with the Lordstown school board in which the company would pay the district $500,000 a year during the project’s three-year construction period, raze an old middle school, and construct a new soccer field somewhere in the village.

Over a 15-year period, Siderewicz has said, the company would pay out $18 million to Lordstown schools.

During a public hearing held in July that elicited unanimous support for the project, Siderewicz said that the plant could bring as much as $1.5 billion in economic benefits to the region over the first 25 years.

About 500 tradesmen would be used during the construction phase, and the plant would employ about 25 once it is operational.

“They’re just dotting their ‘I’s and crossing their ‘T’s,” Hill says. “And they’re small ‘I’s and small ‘T’s compared to last year — it’s all good.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.