Water Pacts in Place, Energy Plant Advances

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Agreements in principle between Clean Energy Future LLC and village of Lordstown, the city of Warren, and the city of Niles to provide water and wastewater services to the company’s proposed electrical generation plant here are now in place, overcoming one of the final hurdles before work could begin on the $900 million project.

“Today is quite a milestone,” related Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future, which is moving ahead with its plan to build a natural gas-fueled energy plant on Henn Parkway. “All of these things that we’re bringing to the community could not be possible unless there was cooperation and leadership from the three mayors.”

Siderewicz, along with Lordstown Mayor Mayor Arno Hill, Niles Mayor Ralph Infante and Warren Mayor Doug Franklin, spoke to reporters during a press event held at the site this morning.

“This is really a unique case where different communities have different ideas, different plans, but for the sake of the Valley and this project, they all put differences aside to help us and help each other,” Siderewicz said.

Trumbull County also extended tax abatements of 100% on new construction for the project. In return, Clean Energy has pledged about $1 million toward the Lordstown Village School District.

The parties came to an agreement last Friday, Siderewicz reported. The contracts are critical to move the project forward and raise the necessary capital to complete the plant, he added.

Clean Energy has hired Whitehall & Co. out of New York to assemble financing for the project, Siderewicz says. Part of the financing would be raised through equity ownership in the project, while about $500 million would be raised through debt capital. “The total project cost is about $900 million, most of that is dedicated to physical construction,” he said.

Siderewicz projects financing could be wrapped up by mid-December, and work could begin the following week.

The impact on the region could be significant, he predicts, when you factor the hundreds for tradesmen needed to construct the plant, as well as the large quantities of materials and supplies that could be purchased from local vendors.

In all, Siderewicz says the project could have a $1.5 billion economic impact to the region over first 30 years of the plant’s operation. Should all proceed according to schedule, the plant could be operational by May 2018.

Lordstown will purchase water from the two cities and supply Clean Energy, Hill said. The plant will require about 5 million gallons per day in order to operate, he said.

“They had water to sell, we wanted to buy it,” Hill noted.

Franklin says the deal stipulates that the city would sell 2.5 million gallons of water per day to the village.

That should bring in about $1.8 million annually in revenue to the water department, about the same amount of money the city lost when its largest customer – RG Steel – shut its doors two years ago. “This makes up for that revenue loss,” he said.

Another $600,000 would be generated annually through wastewater services.

“We’ll be able to stabilize our rates for our customers,” Franklin said. “It’s been a long process, we started this more than a year ago. It took a lot of cooperation.”

The city of Niles would also provide 2.5 million gallons of water to support the project, Infante said.

Pictured: Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future, and Mayors Doug Franklin of Warren, Arno Hill of Lordstown and Ralph Infante of Niles.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.