Clean Energy Future-Lordstown argues for quick approval of 800-MW Ohio project

Clean Energy Future-Lordstown LLC has built-in to its planned project in Ohio the ability to generate additional output of 140 MW above the base case amount of 800 MW, with that extra 140 MW subject to PJM Interconnection queue position #AB1-017.

“This incremental output can occur without any changes to the existing Project’s equipment, or the addition of new equipment, beyond what was included and described in the Application. Once PJM has completed the Facilities Study stage (anticipated for this class of applicants in October 2016), the Company plans to file an amendment to increase the capacity of this Project to 940 MW,” said William Siderewicz, the president of Clean Energy Future-Lordstown, in July 31 testimony filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board in support of a March 23 application for a siting certificate on this gas-fired project.

Siderewicz noted that he had been a participant earlier this decade in the Ohio Power Siting Board process for the Oregon Clean Energy Center Project combined-cycle project that is currently under construction.

Clean Energy Future-Lordstown will construct, own, and operate the Lordstown Energy Center, a natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant that will utilize proven Siemens H- 29 class advanced gas turbines as well as a Siemens condensing steam turbine in a 2x2x1 configuration. The project will interconnect to two American Transmission Systems Inc. (ATSI) existing 345-kV circuits; the Highland-Sammis and Highland-Mansfield circuits These two 345-kV circuits are located parallel to each other and are approximately 3,700 feet east of the power project site. 

“With the closure of so many regional coal plants, there is an obvious imbalance between electricity supply and demand,” Siderewicz wrote about the need for this project. “In the not too distant future, the only viable generation in northeast Ohio will be Perry Nuclear Plant (1,230 MW) and the West Lorain Peaker (545 MW). This is hardly enough generation to the meet the demands of northeast Ohio. Except for the Lordstown Project, there are no new gas fired facilities in the eastern half of ATSI’s territory.”

He noted that the company has established a working relationship with the Village of Lordstown. Through a cooperative working relationship, it was established that the optimum site for a new generation facility in Lordstown was the Lordstown 129 Industrial Park. 

For this project, Siderewicz said the company is on track for a financial closing on Oct. 12, 2015, and is currently raising about $520 million of debt and $400 million of equity. There are time pressures to stay on pace in order to:

  • avoid escalation of the project’s capital cost;
  • meet the commercial operation date of June 1, 2018, which is predicated on an October 2015 start;
  • avoid the severe penalties for being late with the commercial operation date when it comes to capacity commitments to PJM and gas fuel supply commitments in the fuel contract;
  • avoid the potential for debt markets to experience interest rate increases, from current favorable levels; and
  • avoid the reduction in northeast Ohio grid reliability when the only generating plants in the greater Cleveland area will soon be Perry and West Lorain.

If the order for the Lordstown Project is delayed, and in turn, financial closing is delayed to the point that the Lordstown Project fails, the electricity needs of northeast Ohio will need to be met by imported power versus on-the-ground generation, he added. This imported power will come from competing new gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) projects in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan and/or Indiana. The net result would be low system reliability in Ohio (due to less in-state generation) and the loss of the positive multi-billion dollar economic benefits that the Lordstown Project brings to northeast Ohio, he wrote. The issuance of a board order needs to occur sometime in August 2015, he said.

Siderewicz noted that this project is virtually identical to the gas-fired project approved in 2013 by the board for the Oregon Clean Energy Center; namely a 2x2x1 CCGT configuration, Siemens 223 H-class GTs, same emission controls, a wet cooling tower and a double circuit 345 kV 224 interconnection. There are no new technological considerations for Lordstown versus Oregon.

“The Company has selected Siemens Energy to engineer, procure and construct (‘EPC’) this Project,” he said about Lordstown. “It is our intent to fully engage and utilize the abundant and well-trained union labor of the Mahoning Valley to construct the Lordstown Project.”

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.