Brown: Construction of South Field Energy plant may begin by late summer

Speaking at the podium is Collin Brown, assistant project manager for the South Field Energy plant to be located near Hibbetts Mill Road, who discussed the plant during Wednesday’s Ohio Townships Association meeting and dinner. The dinner was held at the Wellsville First Christian Church and hosted by the Yellow Creek Township Trustees. (Photo by Steve Rappach)

WELLSVILLE — Construction on the 1,100-megawatt natural gas-powered South Field Energy plant in Yellow Creek Township may start as early as later this summer, according to an official working with the project.

Collin Brown, assistant project manager for the plant, provided an update on the status of the 1,100-megawatt natural gas-powered electric facility during his keynote speech Wednesday at the Ohio Townships Association dinner and meeting, held at the Wellsville First Christian Church and hosted by the Yellow Creek Township Board of Trustees.

According to Brown, South Field–a subsidiary of Advanced Power of Boston–is now in the final stages of development, to which they are deep into the financing process of the $1.3 billion investment. He stated that once the financing process is complete, which is expected to be done by later this summer, then construction will begin.

“It’s a $1.3 billion project that we’ve been financing, and it’s taken some time,” Brown said.

The facility, to be located near Hibbetts Mill Road, will be located along 150 acres of property, will be wet-pulled and will have access to natural gas through the TL-400 (Dominion South Point Gas) pipeline, which will be handled underground. It will also have a dedicated interconnecting transmission line and will connect into the First Energy transmission system located about three miles away.

The facility will also have a dedicated raw water supply through the Buckeye Water District.

“Those factors will allow the facility to be one of, if not, the most efficient electric-generated facilities in the U.S., if not in the world,” Brown said.

Brown said that following nearly three years of meetings with township and Wellsville school officials along with other state boards such as the Ohio Power Siting Board, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Army Corps, South Field has all of the required permits to start construction, once the financial matters are completed.

“From a permit perspective, the plant can be constructed, and we’re looking forward to that,” Brown said.

Bechtel Power Corporation will handle construction of the facility, which is anticipated to take up to three years one groundbreaking takes place, and anticipates the facility to be run “for 30-plus years”.

Bechtel will also be responsible for hiring of employees for the construction and operation of the plant, to which 550 are expected to be hired for the construction, and then 25-30 full time jobs once the plant operates, which will consist of local employees.

“Bechtel will be in charge of the hiring for the construction phase, but to the extent that they can, they will be using local jobs, local people from the area,” Brown said.

Brown said that the plant will also serve as a major benefit for the Wellsville Local School District, to which the district is anticipated to receive $1 million annually, which will go towards development and improvements in the schools. The agreement is similar to Advanced Power’s plant outside of Carrollton, to which the Carrollton school district will be looking to construct a new high school.

“We think it’s going to usher in a new era of educational programs and infrastructure that will have a very positive effect on the community,” Brown said. “It’s something we take a lot of pride in.”

Following his speech, Brown took questions from the county and township officials. A ground breaking date on the facility has yet to be determined.