Expanded Rolling Hills gas project receives air permits in Ohio

Rolling Hills Generating Station near Wilkesville in Vinton County, Ohio, has received its Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) air quality permit for a planned conversion of the facility from its current peaking configuration to one that would be both combined-cycle and peaking.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) issued the air quality permit on May 20. It’s the second major environmental permit Rolling Hills received in recent months as part of the conversion project. On Feb. 17, Ohio EPA issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System wastewater discharge permit.

The Rolling Hills power plant, in operation since 2003, is an 850-MW, natural gas-fueled peaking power plant that is being converted to a 1,414-MW (nameplate) combined-cycle and peaking facility.

The original power plant was completed in 2003. Since 2008, the facility has been a private equity investment managed by Tenaska Capital Management, LLC, of Omaha, Neb.

The project received a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need from the Ohio Power Siting Board in 2013.

“With our air quality permit now in hand, the Rolling Hills Generating Station conversion project is in advanced-stage development,” said Project Manager Jeff James. “We are optimistic about the prospects of this project and look forward to the day it is called on to provide more clean, reliable power in Ohio and the PJM Interconnection market.”

The catalyst for the plant expansion is a resurgence in domestic industry and manufacturing and a number of anticipated coal plant retirements in the PJM Interconnection region. Rolling Hills is anticipating that, because of its strategic location, it increasingly would be called upon by PJM to meet additional baseload power demands in the region.

“Meeting power needs in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner is an important aspect of this project,” James said. “The efficient combined-cycle and peaking configuration will help Ohio meet the electricity demands of the market, even as several coal plants in the state retire.”

Market needs will ultimately determine the timeline for the project. The earliest construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2015, with commercial operation commencing three years after the start of construction.

The Rolling Hills expansion project would employ more than 400 construction and trades workers at peak construction, according to a Rolling Hills website.

Said the May 20 Ohio EPA permit about what this document covers: “Chapter 31 major modification to convert four of the existing five simple cycle peaking units, SW501F turbines nominally rated at 209 megawatts (MW) each, to combined cycle configuration consisting of two 2×1 combined cycle blocks, the addition of four heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs), each of which will be equipped with duct burners, and two steam turbine generators.”

Said a second, companion air permit issued on May 20 about what it covers: “Installation of two (2), Nine-Cell Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers. (This installation is part of PSD project with turbine modification in PTI P0110152).”

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.