Ohio siting board staff backs Oregon Clean Energy application

Oregon Clean Energy LLC plans for a 799-MW gas-fired project in the Toledo suburb of Oregon meet public interest and environmental criteria, said a March 18 report from the staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board.

The staff has lately been reviewing a site certificate application for this project. The company has said the capacity from this project is needed to make up for the imminent shutdown of aging coal-fired capacity in this region. Oregon Clean Energy Center (OCE) is owned by North America Project Development LLC (NAPD) and is funded by Energy Investors Funds (EIF).

The principals of NAPD are William Siderewicz and William Martin, each of whom has over 33 years of experience in the development of privately-owned/operated power projects, both in the U.S. and in the international marketplace, the staff report noted. EIF is a private energy equity fund that has been in the energy field since 1987. EIF would provide the equity needed to fund the Oregon Clean Energy Center project.

The company’s application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need was filed on Jan. 17 and was deemed complete on Feb 5. A local public hearing will be held on April 2 at the Oregon City Council Chambers. The adjudicatory hearing will commence on April 9 at the offices of the board and its adjunct agency, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Oregon Clean Energy proposes to construct, own, and operate an $860m natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant with a capacity of 799 MW. The applicant proposes to commence construction in June 2013 and begin commercial operation by May 1, 2016.

Siemens and Mitsubishi turbines under consideration for this project

The Oregon Clean Energy Center would have two 270-MW combustion turbine generators. The applicant is considering the Siemens SGT6-8000H or Mitsubishi 501GAC models, the staff report noted. The heat rate for the Siemens SGT6-8000H combined-cycle power plant would be approximately 6,407 BTU/kWh. The heat rate for the Mitsubishi 501GAC combined-cycle power plant would be 6,454 BTU/kWh. The facility would be capable of year-round operation.

The project would also include a three-pressure heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) with auxiliary duct burners for each of the two combustion turbines. There would also be one reheat condensing steam turbine generator, with a maximum output of 350 MW, which would be connected to and utilized by both HRSGs. For faster facility startup, an auxiliary steam boiler would be used for generating steam. The project will be designed to operate in combined-cycle mode only. The maximum net output of the project is 799 MW. A standby/backup diesel generator would be used to safely shut the facility down in the event of a power delivery disruption.

The project would be fueled with natural gas supplies from nearby pipelines. The applicant is considering connection with two gas transmission pipeline companies in the area:

  • the ANR/TransCanada Pipeline Co.’s existing lines, which can deliver approximately 390 million cubic foot per day (MMCFD); and
  • the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co.’s (PEPL) existing lines, which can deliver approximately 330 MMCFD.

The Oregon Clean Energy Center would require approximately 135 MMCFD at least 255 days per year, which is 18%-20% of the total capacity of the two interstate pipelines. To deliver the gas from the ANR/TransCanada and PEPL pipelines, Oregon Clean Energy would need to construct a 25-mile natural gas pipeline that connects to both of these existing pipelines. This proposed pipeline would be submitted to the board separately at a later date, if required.

The applicant intends to enter into an energy tolling agreement/contract with a third-party who is credit worthy and commercially capable of procuring natural gas and purchasing the electricity generated from the Oregon Clean Energy Center.

PJM finds a few grid issues that need to be fixed to support this project

PJM Interconnection has completed the Feasibility Study and System Impact Study (SIS) for the proposed Oregon Clean Energy Center, which includes local and regional transmission system impacts. Oregon Clean Energy has not yet signed a Construction Service Agreement or an Interconnection Service Agreement with PJM for the proposed facility, the staff report said.

Board staff reviewed the System Impact Study report prepared by PJM. The study was evaluated for compliance with reliability criteria for PJM summer peak load conditions forecast for the summer of 2015. The study revealed that some existing transmission lines would become overloaded with the addition of this new generating facility.

The proposed facility was studied as a capacity injection of 799 MW into the ATSI system. Staff reviewed PJM’s Feasibility Study and System Impact Study. The SIS revealed 12 circuit breaker problems and two transmission line overloads. The applicant will only be responsible for three of the 12 circuit breaker problems, as nine circuit breakers are part of an ATSI Regional Transmission Plan baseline upgrade. The overloads of the Ottawa-Lakeview 138-kV and Lakeview-Greenfield 138-kV transmission lines will be mitigated by new system reinforcements.

The new system reinforcements are ATSI-required baseline upgrades and costs will not be allocated to the applicant. The reinforcements are not expected to go online until 2018.

“Staff concludes that, with the upgrades identified in the PJM studies, the proposed facility is expected to provide reliable generation to the bulk electric transmission system,” the report said. “The proposed facility is consistent with plans for expansion of the regional power system, and will serve the interests of electric system economy and reliability. The facility will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity by providing additional electrical generation to the regional transmission grid.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.