Old Dominion Electric unveils plans for 1,000-MW gas plant in Md.

Virginia-based Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) said April 23 that it will seek approval to construct a 1,000-MW, natural gas fueled facility in Cecil County, Md.

Named the Wildcat Point Generation Facility, the plant would be built five miles west of the town of Rising Sun on existing property at the Rock Springs Generation Facility, which ODEC constructed and which became operational in 2003.

The advantages of the project, ODEC said, include:

  • Wildcat Point would provide ODEC’s member distribution cooperatives reliable access to affordable power at a time of growing energy needs, including more than 170,000 cooperative members on the Eastern Shore.
  • It would be powered by natural gas, a clean and domestically plentiful form of energy.
  • It would reduce stress on the region’s electric grid, which benefits customers throughout the region, ODEC noted.
  • Lastly, it would create a peak force of approximately 600 temporary construction jobs and roughly 30 permanent jobs. Wildcat Point is expected to become operational in 2017 and generate approximately 1,000 MW, enough to serve 390,000 homes annually.

“Even after factoring in our members’ well-established load control and energy-efficiency programs, demand for electricity in ODEC-served areas continues to grow,” said Jackson Reasor, Jr., president and CEO of ODEC. “Constructing a state-of-the art, environmentally sound facility will ensure our members have access to reliable, affordable and locally produced power far in to the future. It will also create jobs and a steady source of new revenue for Cecil County. We are proud to have a ten year track record of safe, responsible power production in Cecil County and look forward to working with the County and the State of Maryland during their review of our proposal.”

ODEC is a not-for-profit provider of wholesale power to 11 member distribution cooperatives in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware that serve approximately 1.2 million people. Over the past ten years ODEC has experienced growth in electricity sales of over 26% and additional growth is projected over the next decade. This increasing need has been supplied through a combination of ODEC’s owned generation facilities and purchased power, with a growing reliance on market purchases. Wildcat Point would enable ODEC to meet rising demand and to also replace electricity bought on the market with a cost-effective source of locally produced electricity.

This plant would fit into Maryland’s aging power generating fleet

Maryland’s power plant fleet is aging and unable to meet statewide energy needs, ODEC added. Maryland imports 42% of its power, making it the fifth largest energy importer in the U.S. Two-thirds of the power generated in Maryland comes from power plants that are at least 30 years old. A 2011 report for the state of Maryland projected that the state could need new generation capacity as early as 2015.

In response to these challenges, ODEC issued a Request for Proposals in 2012 for long-term power supply options. After evaluating approximately 80 proposals, ODEC’s board of directors determined that expanding at the Rock Springs location is the most reliable and competitively priced option.

ODEC is currently working with the Cecil County government on the proposed project and will apply for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Maryland Public Service Commission in May. The current facility, Rock Springs Generation Facility, is co-owned and operated by Essential Power LLC.

Headquartered in Glen Allen, Va., ODEC is the wholesale power supplier to 11 locally owned and controlled, not-for-profit electric distribution cooperatives that provide reliable, affordable electricity to 1.2 million people in 70 counties in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. 

Said the ODEC website: “ODEC-owned generation capacity consists of part-ownership in two Virginia base load power stations and three natural gas-fired combustion turbine plants, two in Virginia and one in Maryland. In 1983, we purchased an 11.6-percent undivided interest in the 1,800-megawatt North Anna Nuclear Power Station in Louisa County, Virginia. In the early 1990’s, we broke ground with Dominion Virginia Power on the Clover Power Station, an 850-megawatt, two unit, coal-fired plant in Halifax County, Virginia that first went online in 1995. We own a 50 percent-undivided interest in Clover. Dominion Virginia Power operates the plant and owns the other 50%. To better meet peak-demand-period needs throughout our member co-op service areas, we built three gas-fired combustion turbine facilities: Marsh Run Power Station, near Remington in Fauquier County, Virginia; Louisa Power Station, near Gordonsville, Virginia; and Rock Springs Generation Facility in Cecil County, Maryland. Further, in an effort to expand our portfolio to renewable sources of wholesale power, we recently entered into hydropower, landfill gas and wind-powered energy agreements.”

The ODEC website said the Cypress Creek plant, initially planned as a coal-fired facility on one of two sites in Surry and Sussex counties, Va., is still on indefinite hold.

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.