Power plant proposal clears second hurdle

Company withdraws concerns

LORDSTOWN — A proposal to build a second $900 million natural gas-fired power plant on Henn Parkway has cleared a significant hurdle with a recommendation to the Ohio Power Siting Board that plans should proceed.

And a company near what would become the Trumbull Energy Center that wished to intervene has walked back its concerns over construction of the facility that its developer said threatened its derailment.

To view documents in the application process of the Trumbull Energy Center project in Lordstown, click here

But whether these developments mean there is smooth sailing toward construction remains up to the Siting Board, which can, according to a board spokesman, accept, deny or modify a joint-agreement between the developer, Massachusetts-based Clean Energy Future, and Siting Board staff, that recommends the project should be OK’d.

“The next step is really just a vote by the board,” said Matt Schilling, Siting Board spokesman.

The board meets next week, but the matter involving Trumbull Energy Center isn’t on its agenda. And it’s too early to tell if the board will address the agreement at its meeting in September.

The latest moves happened Wednesday and Thursday, when Vienna Investments LLC, which owns property next to the second proposed plant, withdrew its motion to intervene and the day after, Clean Energy Future and state officials agreed the project should move forward during a hearing in Columbus.

The investment firm in July filed a petition with the Siting Board — a separate entity within the Ohio Public Utilities Commission responsible for approving plans for the construction of new energy facilities in the state — seeking notification of developments in the project and laying out safety concerns for its nearby building.

The company owns 1702 Henn Parkway, where Magna Seating Systems, which supplies seating for the Chevrolet Cruze sedan made at the General Motors Assembly Complex in Lordstown, is located.

The Magna building, approximately 83,000 square feet, is less than a quarter of a mile from the proposed project site and less than 300 feet north of the first power plant, the Lordstown Energy Center, according to documents filed with the Siting Board.

A message seeking comment from Leonard D. Schiavone, attorney for Doug Lumsden of Vienna Investments and Boardman-based Davis International, the original developer of the property, was not returned.

Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future, also did not return a message for comment.

The agreement endorsed Thursday contains several technical conditions related to the construction of the second plant.

The Siting Board approved Clean Energy Future’s plans for the Lordstown Energy Center nearly two years ago. Ground was broken at the plant in July 2016 and construction is scheduled to be completed by June 2018.

Siderewicz has described the two projects as “twin” facilities, each designed to do the same job and put out the same amount of energy. Together, they are expected to meet the needs of some 1.7 million customers.

Each facility is projected to have a lifetime, or 40-plus year, positive impact on the Mahoning Valley and Ohio, of about $14 billion, for a total of $28 billion.

At a public hearing on the proposed Trumbull Energy Center in July, few concerns and minimal safety issues related to the Lordstown Energy Center were presented that would give a reason to not build the second plant. Also, no one who spoke, spoke against the second plant.

However, there were residents who live along Mud Creek who were concerned about potential flooding from water being discharged from the second plant.

Siderewicz, in written testimony to the Siting Board, stated the water discharged into Mud Creek will be storm water runoff and primarily cooling tower discharge water from the facility. It will be clean water and regulated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Before entering the creek, it will be retained in a 2.75 million gallon detention pond that will allow the water to cool to its surroundings and protect against any surge into Mud Creek, according to his testimony.