Commissioners Approve Renovo Power Plant | News, Sports, Jobs

LOCK HAVEN — Clinton County Commissioners have cemented their unanimous support for the Renovo Energy Center LLC project, a natural gas-fired power plant in Renovo.

The board – chairman Miles Kessinger, Jeff Snyder and Angela Harding – had previously voiced support for the potential plant, but did not put it in writing until Thursday’s meeting with a resolution passed unanimously. .

Following the approval, Mike Flanagan, CEO of the Clinton County Economic Partnership, said the project is expected to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to harness natural gas in the Marcellus Shale and provide electricity to customers in Pennsylvania and New York State.

Flanagan said CCEP had been working with REC for nearly nine years to install a power plant in the former rail yard at the Renovo Industrial Park.

“We believe this can be of great economic and environmental benefit to the community. We’re talking about 700 construction jobs for two and a half years; about 25 permanent jobs with future convenience store jobs,” said Flanagan. “The amount of investment that would take place, and has already taken place, for the Renovo Energy Center has been enormous.”

Flanagan acknowledged that the proposal was rebuffed, including appealing the company’s air quality permit application.

“There are a few groups that have opposed this project. Hopefully Renovo Energy Center and these groups can sort things out. Or it will go to a judge in the environmental hearing and we can hope to have this project (in 2022). Or at worst, somewhere in 2023,” he said.

Flanagan thanked the commissioners for their support of the project “since the first day.”

He also pointed out that the investment has the support of Renovo Borough Council, the Renovo Community Trade Association, 76th State Representative Stephanie Borowicz and State Senator Cris Dush.

“They have been very supportive of this project and hopefully we can move it forward here very soon,” Flanagan concluded.

Harding offered his own comments on the draft after it was approved.

She said she considers herself an environmentalist and keeps environmental concerns in mind.

“I believe we need processes and regulations in place to reduce industry impacts,” she says. “However, I’m also realistic about our need to be energy independent, the need for economic development in our community (and) I’m realistic about growth.”

Harding acknowledged that you can’t “push a switch” and have clean and sustainable energy.

“And so, it’s because of those things that I have to trust that the regulations and the agencies responsible for protecting people are doing their jobs,” she says.

“I also believe that because an overwhelming majority of people in the Renovo region want this to happen … my duty as a representative (is) not only to trust the agencies in place to protect these people , but to trust that these people know what is best for their community,” she concludes.

The power station “will benefit the environment by replacing the most polluting forms of energy production”, indicates the board resolution.

Additionally, the resolution states that the project would “restore and enhance sensitive areas to offset construction impacts. These areas include wetland enhancements near Brewery Run and along 2,400 linear feet of Kettle Creek, and reforestation areas in Sproul State Forest.

Commissioners “believe that the construction of the natural gas power plant will be in the best economic interests of the residents” and would be a “productive use of vacant industrial park site” while also serving “boost the economy of Renovo and surrounding communities.”

The REC project is estimated at $850 million to $1 billion in the end.

Groups opposed to the project, including the Pennsylvania-based Clean Air Council, say it would emit harmful pollution through particulates and nitrogen oxides and see nearly seven miles of pipeline to transport natural gas from a nearby transmission line through the townships of Noyes and Chapman.

REC Project Manager Rick Franzese recently provided an update on the initiative in an op-ed for The Express.

“The REC project remains viable as long as the project’s air permit appeal is favorably resolved,” he stated. “Investor interest in the Renovo facility remains high, and growing in light of current events. In particular, the war in Ukraine has highlighted the need for energy security and independence, which, in the short term, the United States can be reliably supplied by domestically sourced natural gas.Renewables, such as solar and wind, are not yet fully reliable baseload power sources, even when complemented by the most advanced storage technology available today.

Increased regulation makes coal generation less viable, he said, so “Gas-fired plants such as Renovo are needed to replace this base load capacity.”

“State-of-the-art power plants such as the approximately 1,240 megawatt REC project come online, these typically displace electricity that would otherwise have been generated by older, less efficient coal-fired power plants and other older baseload power plants with less effective pollution controls, leading to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

The lure of the REC’s air quality permit is a barrier to investment, he said.

“Under normal circumstances, REC would have commenced closing project financing and commencing construction of the PJM unit upon execution of the interconnection agreement with PJM. However, the construction of factories requires a significant financial commitment, and the mere existence of the call for our air license represents a financial risk that lenders and investors must consider. While we are confident that the Environmental Hearing Board will eventually uphold the permit, the simple fact is that despite the remote likelihood of the permit being revoked or substantially revised, the potential financial costs should this occur are substantial, and lenders and investors are rightly worried. (e.g. consider asking a bank to approve a loan so you can start building a house before the property has been approved for that use)”, Franzese wrote.

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