LORDSTOWN - More than 150 residents gathered Monday at the village Administration Building to listen to a presentation about a proposed $800 million energy project that would bring 25 to 30 full-time jobs to the village.
Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future, spoke to Village Planning Commission members and fielded questions from those in attendance about his company's plan to bring a natural gas-fired power plant to a 57-acre plot at 1107 Salt Springs Road. The privately-funded plant, Siderewicz said, would bring the village upwards of $100 million in property taxes over the next 40 years.
If the plant is approved, Siderewicz estimated it would break ground in December 2015 and see full-scale operation three years later.
Tribune Chronicle / Colin Harris
Bill Siderewicz, president of Clean Energy Future, addresses the 150 who gathered at Monday’s Lordstown Planning Commission meeting.
"Tonight is really sort of a first date, if you will, with the people of this village," Siderewicz said of Monday's meeting. "We wanted to begin the dialogue between our company and this village and see if it's all right to come back later to talk about changing the zoning."
Clean Energy Future is looking at a plot of land currently owned by Niles-based Sheldon Gantt Inc. that is zoned collectively as B-2 and R-1, two designations marked for commercial business and residential establishments, not industrial.
Siderewicz said that it is necessary that the proposed plant be built at the Salt Springs location due to its proximity to already-established high voltage power lines. The proximity to those lines, Siderewicz noted, is critical to the plant's operation.
"We are a non-utility company, which means we cannot just claim eminent domain, like FirstEnergy and install power lines," Siderewicz said.
Planning Commission Chairman Tim Rech said that any decision to rezone the land will not be taken lightly.
"Once we make a zoning change, it does not revert back to what it was previously zoned as," Rech said.
Tom Schubert, Clean Energy Future legal council, said the company's proposed plant is an answer to the rising energy needs of not just Trumbull County, but of the entire country.
"President Obama is very against coal, and a lot of local plants are shutting down," said Schubert, referring to Niles-based GenOn Energy, which closed in 2012. "So the alternative to coal is natural gas, which is quiet and burns cleanly."
During his presentation, Siderewicz noted proposed plant is similar to ones built by his company in Fremont and Oregon, Ohio, and will offset some of the loss from coal plants. He said the plant would emit half the carbon dioxide released by a coal-burning plant.
"When you turn on your stove and burn gas to cook, you don't need an emission check," Siderewicz said."Natural gas is very low in sulfur and particulates already, but Ohio EPA regulations ensure that our emissions are even cleaner than that."