Construction Underway on 1875 Megawatt Gas-Fired Power Plant
After clearing the numerous hurdles involved in a project of this magnitude, preparation has begun on the more than 100-acre site upon which the $1.9 billion project will rest. Developers Caithness Energy and Apex Power worked extensively for more than two years arranging financing, clearing environmental issues, defending an AEP concern, and securing the necessary parcels. The site is perfect for location of the project with the Rockies Express Gas Pipeline onsite and an AEP 765-KV line also traversing the property. Gemma Power Systems is the EPC contractor, with General Electric securing the equipment supply contract.
As the managing owner, Caithness Energy has a very successful track record in the development of power projects, having developed, operated, and owned interests in 43 operating power projects, including gas turbine, wind, geo-thermal, solar, hydro, diesel, and transmission line endeavors. This project is expected to bring approximately 1,000 jobs to the area during the peak construction period, with nearly 30 full-time plant personnel to be employed in permanent positions to operate the three turbine power system. The project is very environmentally sensitive. There is reduced water consumption by using dry-cooling technology which reduces water usage by as much as 95% compared to other cooling systems. The combined cycle and cooling technologies combine to allow the facility to achieve the lowest possible air emissions.
Initial activities at the site involve leveling, preparation of lay down areas, upgrade of Seneca Lane (primary access to the project) and grouting of mine tunnels beneath the project site. Gemma is using the latest stabilization techniques which will provide a solid, stable platform supporting the massive turbines. The Village of Byesville has installed the water lines which will support the project and is prepared to provide sewer service.
The project will provide more than $140 million to the Rolling Hills School District and a substantial annual stipend to Valley Township. The project is expected to create numerous “spin-off” employment opportunities in the community. Mike and Mary King (Apex Power Group) were extremely competent and easy to work with throughout development of the project and are expected to remain partners with local leaders for some time.