Natural Gas Power Plants in Planning for Pennsylvania

by Duane Nichols on March 23, 2016

Elizabeth Twp. gas plant site is 10 miles south of Pittsburgh & Nemacolin site is 60 miles south in Monongahela River valley

Natural gas power plant proposed for former Nemacolin Mine property

From an Article by Bob Niedbala, Washington PA Observer Reporter, March 22, 2016

A New York company wants to build a 536-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant on the property of the former Nemacolin mine in Cumberland Township of Greene County. The plant, which will be developed by Hill Top Energy Center LLC of Huntington Bay, N.Y., will be constructed on property off Thomas Road that was the site of a proposed coal waste-fire power plant a few years ago.

Hill Top applied for an air quality permit from the PA Department of Environmental Protection for the plant in September. The application is in the technical review stage, PA-DEP spokesman John Poister said.

The company also advertised its intention to apply to PA-DEP for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for water quality management. That application has not yet been submitted to the agency, Poister said.

A legal notice regarding the water quality application notes the permit is needed for a discharge of cooling water used as part of a cooling tower system. Water will be withdrawn from the Monongahela River, used in the cooling system and then returned to the river, the notice said.

Information provided by PA-DEP regarding the air quality permit application indicates the plant will consist of a natural gas-fired combustion turbine, heat recovery steam generator and a steam turbine. The plant will burn only pipeline quality natural gas.
The plant also will have selective catalytic reduction equipment to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions and oxidation catalysts to reduce carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound emissions, the application said.

The company plans to begin construction early next year provided all the necessary permits are received. Construction is expected to take 30 months.

Poister said the plant is on the “small side” in regard to natural gas power plants. PA-DEP recently approved permits for a plant almost twice its size in Westmoreland County.

The Nemacolin property is in an environmental justice zone, which means public meetings will be held as the project moves forward, he said.

Company officials met with the township several months ago to discuss the project, Cumberland Township zoning officer Ann Bargerstock said. The project will meet the requirement of the zoning ordinance, Bargerstock said. The zoning for the property had been addressed in 2003 when plans were being proposed for the coal waste-fired power plant, she said.

The property on which Hill Top’s proposed plant will be constructed is owned by Greene Energy Resources, Bargerstock said. Greene Energy is affiliated with Wellington Development WVDT LLC, which had planned to build the coal-waste burning plant.

Wellington Development proposed building a 525-megawatt plant on the property in 2003 that would burn waste coal from the Nemacolin and nearby coal refuse piles.
The company described its project as a “resource recovery” project that would turn mine waste into energy and reclaim more than 500 acres of abandoned mine lands.
The project would reduce air pollution from the coal refuse piles, many of which are burning, and reduce water pollution in area stream caused by runoff form the huge waste coal piles, the company said.

Wellington received its initial air-quality permit in June 2005. Plans for the project moved forward for a number of years but faced legal challenges from environmental groups in state and federal courts. The company received its last, five-year extension on it air quality permit in April 2011, before finally dropping the project.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Red Tail Hawk March 23, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Elizabeth Township in Allegheny County Pennsylvania considers gas plant

By Daniel Moore, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 27, 2016

An Illinois energy company is eyeing a patch of long-contaminated land in Elizabeth Township to build a new 550-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant, taking advantage of a serendipitous intersection of a power line, a gas pipeline and low natural gas prices.

Chicago-based Invenergy LLC is considering building the plant on a former industrial landfill on Henderson Road near Buena Vista, a 600-acre property where U.S. Steel and other companies decades ago dumped coal fly ash, coal tar and demolition waste.

“We’re really about the only kind of business that could be operated on that site due to its historical uses,” said Nick Cohen, Invenergy director of thermal development.

“It’s a vast area of Elizabeth Township that is currently providing no value,” he added. “By locating a business like ours, it will be able to provide a benefit for the community for what is really a significant amount of useless land.”

The township has scheduled a town hall meeting tonight to answer questions from residents about the project. The meeting is scheduled from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Elizabeth Forward Middle School.

Andrew Kuzma, an Elizabeth Township commissioner and the host of the town hall, said he has not made up his mind about whether to throw his full support behind the project. The feedback he has received from residents is “50/​50,” meaning half of them have expressed concerns, he said.

“It’s a huge opportunity for our tax revenue and jobs and economic development,” Mr. Kuzma said. “But we have to do our due diligence and listen to the taxpayers first, because they’re concerned about noise and construction … and they’re worried about pollution.”

Pollution is no stranger to the brownfield property along the Youghiogheny River. In late 1970s, William Fiore opened the permitted landfill site. The site accepted coal tar, a byproduct of producing coke for U.S. Steel’s Clairton Works, as well as other industrial wastes.

The PA Department of Environmental Protection terminated the site in 1983 after Fiore was found to have violated the permit. In 1986, he was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison for illegally disposing of wastes at the site and discharging them into the nearby river. Upon his death in 2003, ownership of the property was transferred to his son, David Fiore.

David Fiore — who started a renewable energy business called Buena Vista Energy LLC in 2005 — has recently been marketing the property as well-suited for renewable energy development. On his LinkedIn profile, he touts the property’s flat terrain, access to the electric grid and an 18-inch underground transmission pipeline operated by NiSource, Inc. Additionally, the property is bordered on three sides by the Youghiogheny River.

He said he reached out to a number of energy companies, and Invenergy expressed interest.

“They’re willing to go ahead and take a good hard look, which would definitely be a win-win,” David Fiore said Wednesday. “It would take a current brownfield site within the township and purpose it for the benefit of the whole township.”

Although U.S. Steel agreed to clean up the site in the early 2000s by moving the coal tar to the permitted dumping area and capping it, Mr. Kuzma said there are still areas fenced off by environmental authorities.

The plant is Invenergy’s second proposed power station in Pennsylvania. Invenergy is pushing forward on a 1,500-megawatt natural gas plant in Lackawanna County, which it plans to finish in 2017. The proposal also joins Nebraska-based energy company Tenaska’s plans for a 925-megawatt natural gas plant in Westmoreland County’s South Huntingdon, a project that could break ground in the next few months.

Invenergy has developed wind, solar and natural gas plants capable of generating more than 10,000 megawatts of utility-scale power, according to its website. It has primarily focused on renewable energy: Of its 79 power plant projects, 65 are wind farms and seven are solar plants, while seven burn natural gas.

Also on Wednesday, Invenergy announced the sale of 225 megawatts of wind power to Google from a wind farm in Texas.


Carol Dailey June 15, 2016 at 10:38 am


I wanted to inform you the Elizabeth township (PA) zoning board voted against Invenergy application for the variance and negated the application.

Carol Dailey


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