Natural Gas Fired Electric Power Plants Coming On Rapidly

by Duane Nichols on August 23, 2017

Black = Proposed & Gray = Existing

More people’s electricity coming from natural gas

From an Article by Stephen Huba, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 27, 2017

Natural gas is on pace to either equal or exceed coal as a source of electricity for the second year in a row, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Coal and natural gas generated 30 percent and 34 percent of U.S. electricity in 2016, respectively — the first year that natural gas-fired electricity generation exceeded coal-fired generation. EIA projections show that natural gas and coal will each generate 31 percent of the electricity in the United States in 2017.

The federal government report comes at a time of growth in the number of gas-fired power plants in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. The 925-megawatt Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station in South Huntingdon Township will supply power for up to 925,000 homes once it comes online in late 2018.

For the first four months of 2017, coal has provided 30 percent of electricity generation, while natural gas has provided 28 percent, the EIA said. The amount of natural gas used for electricity generation, known as power burn, from April 1 through July 25 averaged 27.1 billion cubic feet — or 7 percent lower than last year’s consumption over the same period, the EIA said.

Although power burn in 2017 is lower than in 2016, it is still relatively high compared with the previous five-year average for that period, the EIA said. Higher natural gas prices relative to last summer and reliance on renewable sources explain part of the decrease.

Power burn reached its highest daily level so far in 2017 during the past week, exceeding 41 billion cubic feet on July 20, according to data from PointLogic Energy. Natural gas-fired electricity generation typically peaks at the end of July or the beginning of August because of high demand for air conditioning during that period.

In addition to Tenaska in Westmoreland, several other gas-fired power plants are at various stages of development in the region. In January, Boston-based developer Clean Energy Future announced that it was building a second plant in Lordstown, Ohio, next door to the 940-megawatt plant that is scheduled to go into service in June 2018.

In Wellsville, Ohio, Advanced Power Services is building a 1,100-megawatt plant that will provide enough energy for an estimated 1 million homes once it comes online in 2020.

Also under development are plants in Renovo Borough, Clinton County (Bechtel Development Corp.); Cumberland Township, Greene County (Hill Top Energy Center); and Robinson Township, Washington County (Robinson Power Co.).


Pennsylvania NatGas-Fired Power Plant to Break Ground in 2018

From an Article by Jamison Cocklin, Natural Gas Intelligence, July 27, 2017

The developer of a 950 MW natural gas-fired power plant in central Pennsylvania is expected to break ground on the $800 million project sometime next year.

Clinton County officials said Renovo Energy Center, which was announced in 2015, is on track to start construction in 2018. Renovo two years ago filed an application with the state Department of Environmental Protection. Bechtel Corp.’s infrastructure and financing arm, Bechtel Development Co., is behind the project. The combined-cycle facility is to be a dual-fuel facility that would use ultra-low sulfur diesel to generate electricity during gas supply interruptions.

The plant is to be sited on a 68-acre former rail yard site in Renovo, PA. Construction is expected to employ up to 500 people, with another 30 employed full-time after it enters service. Construction is expected to take more than two years. Renovo Energy plans to sell electricity into the wholesale market.

In addition to the turbines and steam generators, the proposed facility would include two auxiliary boilers, two emergency generators, an emergency firewater pump and a natural gas heater. The boilers and heater would only burn pipeline quality natural gas, the company said in its plan approval application. The emergency firewater pump and emergency generator would utilize the diesel fuel oil.


Gas-fired power plant in Lawrence County back on track

From an Article by Sara Welch, Shale Gas Reporter, August 23, 2017

Following a long delay, a natural gas-fired poweplant in western Pennsylvania’s Lawrence County could be back on track.

A 900-megawatt Hickory Run Energy plant in North Beaver Township was first proposed by LS Power Development in 2013, costing $750 million. The project stalled and was purchased by a subsidiary of Japan’s ITOCHU Corp. in 2016.

After purchasing the facility Tyr Energy upped its plans to 1,000 MW, and hoped to have the paperwork and financing completed midway through 2017 to start construction. South Korea’s KB Asset Management has agreed to invest $150 million in the project which will now cost $863 million.

See also: More Places to Burn Natural Gas – A FracTracker Article


Ohio Governor advocates for local government

New natural gas power plant near Toledo opens

From an Article by Tyrel Linkhorn, Toledo Blade, August 21, 2017

His voice slightly raised to get above the low thrum of the Oregon Clean Energy power plant behind him, Gov. John Kasich made clear on Monday where he stands on Ohio’s electric future. “This is the future. This is a big deal,” the governor said of the Oregon plant.

On 30 acres, the gas turbines at Oregon Clean Energy generate 870 megawatts — nearly as much electricity as FirstEnergy Corp.’s sprawling Davis-Besse nuclear power station in Ottawa County, which produces 900 megawatts. And, thanks to a glut of natural gas in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere across the United States, the new plant does so with significantly better economics.

That’s been a boon to places like Oregon, where access to water, natural gas, and the electric grid have come together to lure in some $1.7 billion in new investment from independent power companies.

VIDEO: Tyrel Linkhorn discusses the opening of Oregon’s new natural gas power plant

About half of that went to the Oregon Clean Energy plant, which began producing electricity for customers on July 1 and is owned by investment funds Ares Management L.P. of Los Angeles and I Squared Capital of New York. The other $900 million will go to a nearby second gas-turbine facility, owned and developed by Manchester, Mass.-based Clean Energy Future LLC, which is expected to start construction next year.

“I think it’s important that Ohio stay in a deregulated environment which brings these investors,” Mr. Kasich said. “If all of a sudden you don’t have a level playing field, then you don’t have significant investment. People go in another place.”

While the governor didn’t mention FirstEnergy in his prepared remarks, the Akron-based utility seemed to be on his mind. The company has sought help from the state legislature to force customers to subsidize the operations of its two nuclear plants, including Davis-Besse. Otherwise, FirstEnergy has said, the sites will close.

Mr. Kasich did take a question after the event on whether he could in any way support that company’s request for what critics have called a bailout. “Not at this point,” Mr. Kasich said. “I think that economic decisions have to be made, and I just think they’re going to have to work their way through this themselves.”

The governor also said in a brief interview that he supports having renewable power sources as part of the mix and still sees a role for coal-fired plants. Even so, the area’s last coal-fired plant — FirstEnergy’s Bay Shore in Oregon — already has shut down its coal-fired generators. The plant is to close entirely in 2020.

Oregon Clean Energy makes its power from natural gas. The site has three generators. Two are powered directly by natural gas, while the third is spun by steam that’s generated from the exhaust heat of the other two turbines. Water used for cooling and for steam generation is purchased from the city of Oregon. Oregon Clean Energy’s owners invested $12 million into Oregon’s water infrastructure to pay for upgrades.

“Every day we get our dispatch for the next day. We bid this into the market every day,” Mr. Rigney said. “That’s what makes it so efficient. We have no subsidy, we have no captive ratepayers. We have to make our dollar every day.”

But Mr. Kasich, the term-limited governor who has said he’s not planning to run for any other office again, also went through what seemed to be the high points of a campaign speech. That included Ohio’s rainy day surplus, job creation numbers since he’s been in office, and — unprompted — an aside about the state’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

“One of the great things that we’ve been able to do is the expansion of Medicaid. Because what it’s done, is it’s opened opportunities for the mentally ill, the drug addicted, and the chronically ill,” he said. “Think about this for a second, if one day you woke up and you had no health insurance. Can you imagine what your life would be like?”

Mr. Kasich made a brief reference to the recent events in Charlottesville, but he did not mention President Trump. He did, however, suggest answers to many problems are going to be found locally.

“It’s us and our neighbors. We wonder about the big leaders and all that,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s not the big leaders, it’s the people who live in the communities like Oregon who make such a big difference.”


SLIDESHOW: At least 10 natural-gas fired power plants in development in Ohio.


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Pennsylvania is Enacting a Severence Tax in Addition to their Impact Fee

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