OREGON, OH (TOLEDO NEWS NOW) - An $800 million project could be in the works for the city of Oregon. Groundbreaking for a new gas-fired power plant could happen as early as next fall.
Details of the proposed project were released at a news conference Wednesday morning. Those heading the project said it would be the most efficient power plant in America, working twice as efficient as local coal plants.
"New turbine technology is advancing every year, and it's doing two things: It's burning gas more efficiently, and it's also creating less emissions that go out into the environment," said Jeff Ruggiero, director of development for North American Project Development.
After more than two years of planning, officials hope to build the new power plant just south of the BP plant on North Lallendorf in Oregon. The plant would convert natural gas into electricity producing 800 megawatts, which would be enough to provide electricity for 500,000 homes.
"It's the same natural gas that goes into your stove or your furnace. We'll take that natural gas and convert it into electricity," explained Ruggiero.
The project would be managed by North American Project Development, which developed a similar plant in Fremont.
Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian said the project will be huge for the city. Tax revenue from the plant will go back to the community and schools, plus, jobs will be created. Between 400 and 600 construction workers could be hired for two to three years to build the plant, and between 25 and 27 full-time employees could work on site once the plant is built. Materials would also be bought locally.
"You've got the space, you've got the infrastructure, and you've got the need. Hopefully we'll get the people here to come and build," said Seferian.
Seferian said the city has been working hard to acquire investments like this.
"Any industrial or commercial user has to look for their needs to be met, and we have ground that's readily available, and we have the infrastructure in place," said Seferian.
The development group is hoping the project will help take the place of Bay Shore and other coal plants which will be closing due to new Environmental Protection Agency clean air standards.
"Whenever plants go down, there's a need to replace them. So that's really what drove us to northwest Ohio," said Bill Siderewicz, managing partner for North America Project Development.
There are still a few obstacles to overcome before work can be started.
Although funding is set, the company has three last things to arrange. First, it needs to get permission to connect the power to the system. Second, it will need to bring a gas supply to the site, which is a task already started with Columbia Gas. Lastly, it will have to find a company that wants to buy the electricity.
"We're feeling really confident. We wouldn't have made this announcement if we weren't feeling really good about things," said Ruggiero.
If everything goes as planned, groundbreaking could take place next fall.
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