A Vienna, Va., company wants to build an $800 million power plant here and another in Bradford County to take advantage of the growing natural gas industry and to provide energy for up to 1.4 million people, including those in the local area.
Aaron Samson, president of Moxie Energy, told the Sun-Gazette about plans to build the Moxie Patriot Generation Plant in Clinton Township and Moxie Liberty Generation Plant in Asylum Township, Bradford County. Construction would begin next year.
"We're trying to put these projects close to the gas development," he said.
The power plants will be fueled by natural gas, with no diesel oil back-up, and will not require any large source of water for cooling.
Each plant will serve 700,000 people, according to Samson.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently held a pre-application conference call with Moxie Energy to review general environmental requirements for the plants, Daniel Spadoni, DEP community relations coordinator, said.
The major permit Moxie Energy needs to continue is the air quality permit, which requires computer modeling the DEP and federal Environmental Protection Agency will review to make sure state and federal requirements are met, Spadoni said.
Two National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits will be required to proceed, he said. One is a construction storm water permit that addresses the collection and discharge of storm water from the site during construction, and the other is an industrial storm water permit that address the collection and discharge of storm water from the site once construction has been completed.
DEP has not received any permit applications yet, according to Spadoni.
Samson predicts the process to have the permits approved will take 10 to 12 months.
The company hopes to have construction under way next year and completed in about 30 months, Samson said.
Moxie's Liberty plant should be finished in the first quarter of 2015, he added, and its Patriot plant in the second or third quarter of the year.
Samson said an average of 200 skilled and non-skilled workers, with a peak workforce of about 500, will be hired for construction. After construction finishes, there will be about 30 people operating the plants.
"We will generally hire local workers," Samson said. "There will be a specialized training for components."
The budget for the projects is $800 million each.
Moxie Energy proposes to build combined-cycle power plants. They are more efficient than traditional fossil-fueled plants because they capture much of the energy contained in the hot exhaust from the natural gas combustion turbines to generate additional electricity, according to Samson. Using the energy stops it from being wasted as hot air.
The power plants will produce nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions that are about 80 percent less than a comparable new coal plant, carbon dioxide emissions are about 45 percent less than a comparable coal plant, and sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions that are more than 99 percent less than a comparable coal plant.
"The reserve estimates (for natural gas) are beyond 100 years," Samson said.
Even though the design life for the plants are 30 years, he predicts they will last 40 to 50 years.
The community has mostly been supportive so far.
"Neighborhoods definitely have questions," Samson said. "It's something new. Overall, phone calls and emails and comments have been pretty positive. We're doing our best to answer the public's questions."
Samson wants to have an education meeting with the community to answer questions, but he has also been responding to individual phone calls and emails.