Everyone wins with twin power plants

Lordstown and Trumbull County stand to lose hundreds of high-paid construction jobs as well as dozens of permanent plant jobs, along with millions of dollars in revenue to the local school district and other tax revenue if a second local power plant project is lost.

A dispute between the plant’s owner, Clean Energy Future LLC, and several investors could spoil plans to add a second $900 million twin plant to the one that already is well underway and expected to be completed by this summer. The towering first $900 million Lordstown Energy Center being built off Henn Parkway is visible to motorists traveling on state Route 45 in Lordstown.

Approval had been granted by the Ohio Power Siting Board for a twin power plant dubbed the Trumbull Energy Center and slated for construction adjacent to the first plant. The second plant also is expected to cost around $900 million, putting the total at a staggering $1.8 billion investment. That may well be the largest dollar investment ever made at one time in Trumbull County.

But a dispute that appears to be rooted in existing deed restrictions and what effect the second plant will have on operations at the first plant has disrupted plans.

The projects, a venture of Clean Energy Future LLC, are headed by William Siderewicz, and Clean Energy Future-Lordstown. The Macquarie Group is the lead owner of Clean Energy Future-Lordstown with around 70 percent ownership, according to court documents, while Siemens Financial Services Inc. owns 26 percent and Clean Energy Future LLC owns 4 percent.

Deed restrictions exist on the land where both plants would be built, which Clean Energy Future-Lordstown has not signed off on for the second plant. Before they acquiesce, however, they are seeking a study to show what impact development of the second plant might have on their first plant. That dispute and study are expected to delay the project.

The question of impact is logical, and certainly the owners of the first plant are entitled to those answers. Still, we believe that as a savvy businessman, Siderewicz — Clean Energy Future’s president — would not have opened the door for a second plant had he not seen the opportunity for success in both plants.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill remains hopeful that the involved parties will work out the dispute and move forward with construction of the second plant.

We hope so, too.

Together, the plants would provide power to some 1.7 million Ohio homes and generate hundreds of local jobs for the skilled workers who will build the plants. Parent company Clean Energy Future LLC already has proven it wants to be a good neighbor.

We hope they move quickly to answer the questions and resolve the dispute.

At the end of the day, if it is proven that both plants will be successful, everyone wins.

editorial@tribtoday.com

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