Pennsylvania DEP approves 936-MW Moxie natural gas plant

Virginia-based Moxie Energy LLC has won approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for an air permit for a 936-MW natural gas power plant.

The facility, which could take up to three years to build, will be the first combined-cycle power plant to use at least some locally-extracted natural gas from the nearby Marcellus Shale formation.

The plant will be built in Asylum Township, Bradford County, and create 500 construction jobs at its peak, DEP said in an Oct. 10 news release.

The project is being developed by Vienna, Va.,-based Moxie. Moxie President and Founder Aaron Simpson is a former AES (NYSE: AES) official, as are a number of top managers. Moxie’s management team has 125 years of experience in the energy business, according to the company website.

Moxie Patriot LLC, a sister company to Moxie Liberty LLC, has applied for an air quality plan approval for a similar facility to be built in Clinton Township, Lycoming County. DEP is reviewing the application.

A draft air permit for the second power plant was published Sept. 29 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which is akin to a Pennsylvania version of the Federal Register, said a DEP spokesperson.

“Today is a red-letter day for Pennsylvania,” said DEP Secretary Mike Krancer. “With this approval, Moxie now has all that it needs from DEP to move forward with the construction of this historic facility, which will use clean, pipeline-quality, locally produced natural gas as fuel.”

The project consists of two power blocks, with each block including a combustion gas turbine and a steam turbine. Each combined cycle process will be able to generate up to 468 MW and will also include a heat recovery steam generator and supplemental duct burners.

Waste heat from the two turbine generators will be converted to steam in two heat recovery generators and piped to the turbines. A large air-cooled condenser will convert the steam to condensed water that will be sent back to the heat recovery steam generators.

Moxie expects that construction of the plant will create 500 jobs at its peak, with an average of 200 workers. About 30 permanent, highly paid technical jobs will be available once construction is complete. Moxie officials estimate that construction will take between two-and-a-half and three years.

Moxie Liberty LLC expects to have the Asylum Township project completed in mid-2015. The project represents more than an $800m investment, according to the Moxie website.

The $800m figure is an “all-in” estimate said Moxie Vice President Kent Morton. Morton said by telephone that Moxie is still looking for a partner that could end up operating the plant, although Moxie has the expertise the run the plant itself. Gemma Power will act as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) vendor, Morton said.

Another non-utility company, EmberClear (TSXV: EMB), is also working to develop a 300-MW combined-cycle gas plant in Schuylkill County, Pa.

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.