Power facility in Clinton Township a national model

The Panda Power Funds Patriot Energy Center in Clinton Township, a Marcellus Shale-gas power plant, was commissioned last week in ceremonies that marked its completion. To grasp the importance of the center, consider the facts. The plant took two years to build and is the second of its kind in the nation. It will power up to 1 million homes and is expected to contribute nearly $6 billion to the state’s economy. The plant is expected to create 27 permanent jobs, 45 indirect jobs and 500 construction jobs. It brings with it a 100-year supply of natural gas. The numbers make it the “largest project in the history of Lycoming County,” according to Vincent J. Matteo, president and CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. And there’s more. The plant is cooled with air rather than water, so there is no need to draw or discharge water into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Operating in that manner, the plant represents the marriage between energy and the environment that so many people don’t believe is possible. Not only do we believe it is possible, we believe it is necessary. The creation and ongoing operations at the plant carry national implications. They represent the sort of energy economy that must be duplicated hundreds of times in our country if the nation is to reach the energy independence so important to its future. Energy independence carries with it healthy foreign policy implications that would drastically change the diplomacy posture for the United States. Our country would be in such a better position of strength in other regions of the world if it were no longer energy dependent. The country has been moving in that direction in recent years, but repeats of the Panda Patriot plant in Clinton Township are needed throughout the nation. It stands as a source of pride that this area can accomplish an energy leading project that is worthy of national duplication.