Newark planning board endorses 655-MW Hess gas plant

The City of Newark’s planning board has voted to approve a 655-MW combined-cycle natural gas power plant that Hess (NYSE: HES) wants to build at a brownfield site in the New Jersey city.

The board approved the project in a majority vote despite considerable public opposition, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The Newark plant would be located on a vacant industrial site adjacent to Hess’ Newark petroleum storage terminal, a Hess spokesperson said May 10.

Various local, state and federal approvals must still be secured, according to slides from a March 27 presentation by Hess officials in New Jersey. A spokesperson for the city said the power plant issue will be taken up at the City Council’s next meeting in June.

Hess plans to have the Newark Energy Center, as it is called, operational no later than 2016, following an estimated 30-month construction phase. The company expects to generate 400 temporary jobs during construction and 26 permanent jobs at the plant.

Hess said the plant will both provide much-needed electricity for northern New Jersey and reduce the regional power grid’s reliance on older, more polluting generation.

The power plant itself will use General Electric (NYSE: GE) gas turbine generator technology. Other major equipment includes two combustion turbine generators, two heat recovery steam generators, one steam turbine generator, a wet mechanical draft cooling tower and associated auxiliary and balance of plant equipment.

The project will be located near an existing Transco gas line. The power plant will use mostly recycled water and is located roughly a mile away from the nearest residential area. As for electric interconnection, it will use an underground cable to connect to the PSE&G Essex substation a couple of miles away.

Hess stressed that it is already among New Jersey’s top 100 employers with various petroleum storage terminals and a refinery in the state.

The company also said that the gas-fueled power plant will have no discernible impact on noise levels in the area. The Hess presentation slides in March did not list a construction price for the project.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.