When the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) meets Feb. 22, it could decide whether to grant an NTE Energy affiliate permission to disturb a few more acres in the construction of a new combined-cycle gas plant in Middletown.
The OPSB staff has recommended that NTE Ohio be allowed to make the proposed amendment to its site certificate.
The applicant is currently building a 525-MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle generating facility located in Middletown, Ohio. The Ohio board certificated this project on Nov. 24, 2014 in case number 14-0534-EL-BGN. In its own news releases, NTE has also referred to Middletown as a 475-MW project.
The applicant is proposing a new 3.5 acre temporary “laydown” area for use during construction, according to a staff document filed Feb. 1. The additional temporary laydown is proposed to occur within an approximately 100-foot wide strip of land located adjacent to the west edge of the facility site. The parcel is owned by AK Steel and would be temporarily leased by NTE. The addition of the proposed laydown area would require 1.3 acres of tree clearing, according to the staff report signed by OPSB Director of Rates and Analysis Patrick Donlon.
Clearing would be restricted to Oct. 1 through March 31, to avoid impacts to summer roosting bat species, including the state and federal endangered Indiana bat and federal threatened Northern long-eared bat.
During the original investigation it was determined that a great blue heron rookery was located within 700 feet of the western edge of the project. Although the addition of the laydown area would bring disturbance 100 feet closer to the rookery, the laydown area would not directly impact the nesting trees and is not anticipated to be a significant source of disturbance. Further, no new surface water impacts are proposed, according to the OPSB staff paper.
NTE has coordinated with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and determined no impacts to cultural resources are anticipated and no additional archaeological investigation is needed, according to the staff report.
NTE Energy announced last fall that its affiliate had successfully closed $645m in project financing for construction and operation of the Middletown Energy Center. NTE has contracted Argan (NYSE AMEX: AGX) subsidiary Gemma Power Systems to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the project. Developers hope to have the plant in operation during the spring of 2018.
NTE Energy is based in Florida and is developing natural gas-fueled generation projects in Ohio, North Carolina and Texas.