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July startup expected for 800-MW Ohio gas plant

June 21, 2017

Oregon Clean Energy Center, one of the first new combined-cycle natural gas projects that launched Ohio's shale gas-fueled generation buildout nearly three years ago, is about ready to start producing electricity commercially.

"It looks like the plant will be online in the next couple of weeks," William Martin, president of CME Energy, the Boston-based developer, said in a Tuesday interview about the 800-MW facility near Toledo in northwest Ohio.

And it will not be the last combined-cycle gas plant to be built inthe Midwestern state, in the opinion of Martin, a veteran developer who
has built power plants in the US and around the world.

Martin does not subscribe to the theory of some analysts who say recent low clearing prices in PJM Interconnection's capacity auction could sound the death knell for the nascent gas buildout across the PJM region, which includes 13 states plus the District of Columbia.

In fact, he envisions a potential opportunity to add another 20,000 MW of gas-fired generation in the region as older coal and nuclear plants, unable to compete with cheaper gas and renewables, retire in the coming years.

It all sort of started with Oregon Clean Energy Center and a couple of other early movers in Ohio.

Black & Veatch, the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, began work on the approximately $900 million plant in
November 2014.

B&V is going through its final checklist for the plant and an early July startup is anticipated. "We're very optimistic we'll have a closing soon," Martin said. "There's paperwork they have to go through."