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Power plant in Oregon may double size, output
The developers of a high-efficiency, natural gas-fired power plant in Oregon said they eventually could double the size of the facility as demand warrants.
At a briefing in Oregon’s city offices Wednesday, Bill Martin and Bill Siderewicz said the power plant — called the Oregon Clean Energy Center — at its start-up will be able to generate 800 megawatts, but is designed to be expanded in 400-megawatt increments as more demand appears.
The men are managing partners at North American Project Development LLC, the Boston-based energy group that’s developing the project, which is expected to cost $800 million to $850 million.
Higher environmental standards are forcing the shutdown of power plants in Ohio. The new, clean-burning Oregon plant will offset some of that loss, they said. It will emit half f the carbon dioxide discharged by a coal-burning plant. Mr. Siderewicz said his firm’s consultant believes the new plant will be able to sell all the electricity it can produce.
Doubling its generating capacity to 1,600 megawatts would make its output significantly larger than Toledo Edison’s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant near Oak Harbor. Davis-Besse produces enough electricity to power 450,000 homes, according to the Edison.
An expansion to 1,600 megawatts would be the maximum load the area’s grid could accept, Mr. Siderewicz said.
Oregon officials are delighted the new power plant is slated for their community said they are not aware of opposition to it. The plant will be on a 30-acre site at 816 Lallendorf Rd. The developer also has an option to buy 33 adjacent acres. Mr. Martin and Mr. Siderewicz expect to receive final approval for their project’s air permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency this month.
Oregon Administrator Mike Beazley said the new plant will be a welcome water and sewer customer for the city. The power plant will tap into the city’s intake line and buy 3.5 million gallons of untreated water daily that will be used for cooling, with most of it lost to evaporation. Mr. Siderewicz said the plant will pay $1 million to $1.1 million annually for Oregon’s water and sewer services and more than $1 million a year in property taxes, most of which will go to the Oregon schools.
Oregon also will collect its 2.25 percent payroll tax from the 500 tradesmen employed during construction, which is expected to start in spring or summer of 2014 and last 32 to 34 months. The developer is committed to using union labor and local contractors and expects construction of the plant to involve about 1.5 million worker hours.
“The real benefit is that the city is putting people to work,” Mr. Beazley said. “Long-term, there will be contractors working at that plant for decades on maintenance and other things.”
The developer plans to have to have the plant in operation by May, 2017, the start of the important summer power season. Mr. Siderewicz said the plant, once operational, will have 26 workers on its payroll at salaries ranging from $65,000 to $135,000.
To generate electricity, the plant will use two natural gas-fired turbines that heat water to produce steam. The water used in this process is recycled. Mr. Siderewicz said this process using natural gas is 60 percent efficient, a big improvement over the 33 percent efficiency of a coal-fired plant and “is close to the theoretical limit of what you can extract when you’re talking about electricity.”
The project is financed entirely by private investors and lenders. Equity investors will provide 40 percent of the needed capital and commercial lenders the rest, Mr. Siderewicz said. The investors seek a 12 percent return, and the lenders will charge a 6 percent interest rate.