Proposed Natural Gas Power Plant Under Review for Greene County, PA

by Duane Nichols on November 7, 2017

Marcellus natural gas pipeline and shut-off valve

### — Natural gas plant proposed for coal-rich Greene County — ###

From an Article by Reid Frazier, NPR State Impact Pennsylvania, November 2, 2017

A New York company is planning to build a natural gas plant in Pennsylvania’s biggest coal county. Hilltop Energy Center LLC, a Huntington Bay, N.Y.-based company, is proposing to build a 600-megawatt natural gas power plant in Cumberland Township, Greene County.

Construction on the plant could start in November 2018, says William Campbell, III, an environmental consultant for the project. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a public hearing Thursday in Carmichaels, Pa. for the facility’s proposed air quality permit.

The project is among dozens vying to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s booming gas industry. Energy firms have proposed over 40 gas-fired projects in Pennsylvania since 2011, according to federal data. Fourteen are under construction or operating.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, five gas plants have been proposed, and one –Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station – is under construction, said Alan Binder of the DEP’s Southwest Bureau.

Campbell says the state’s surge in natural gas production is the main reason why the company is building the plant in Greene County, the largest coal-producing county in the state. “There is a surplus of gas, which means gas prices are very low, and predictions are they’re going to stay very low, which makes it very economical and makes this a great region for this kind of plant,” Campbell says. “Greene County has the site, it has a receptive population here that is good for this (type of project). It’s the right location.”

Binder said that since Pennsylvania does not meet federal standards for ozone, a pollutant that can exacerbate asthma and cause lung disease, the plant will be required to install equipment to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds–two classes of chemicals that create ozone.

In addition, the plant will be required to purchase Emissions Reduction Credits, or ERCs, to displace the pollution it will create by buying credits for pollution reductions from plants that are cleaning up or shutting down.

The plant will employ 20 to 30 full-time employees once completed.

The PA-DEP will take public comment on the plant’s proposed air quality permit until November 12, 2017.


Pittsburgh, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

The proposed natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant has a 620 MW generating capacity. Hill Top applied for air quality plan approval in March 2017.

Individuals may submit written public comments to the attention of Alexander Sandy, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222,, or fax to 412-442-4194. Written testimony must include the commenter’s name, address, and phone number and reference the proposed Hill Top Energy Center Plan Approval (PA-30-00233B). Public comments will be accepted until November 12, 2017 at 11:59 PM.

A copy of Hill Top Energy Center’s application, DEP’s technical review memo, and other relevant information is available for review at DEP’s Southwest Regional Office at 400 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Appointments to review the application materials can be made by calling 412-442-4000.

Documents are also available on DEP’s Southwest regional webpage,, or by visiting Flenniken Memorial Library, 102 E. George Street, Carmichaels, PA.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Wildfire November 8, 2017 at 8:11 am

Of course Greene County is the perfect place for the plant. It’s the poorest county in Pennsylvania, a place where people are used to allowing the degradation of their land and water for a few jobs. They are used to having no choice in the matter.

PA DEP will take comments and then they will permit the plant, no matter what the comments say. Nice deal for a New York based company–put the plant and its pollution in the far corner of PA, export the power and the profits to NY.

Mary Wildfire, Roxane County, WV


Eric Scicchitano November 17, 2017 at 8:37 am

Hummel Station 88 percent complete; second plant to follow

By Eric Scicchitano, The Daily Item, November 15, 2017

SHAMOKIN DAM — Panda Power Funds expects its Hummel Station natural gas power plant to go into operation in February while Sunbury Generation, the landowner behind the project, expects construction of a second plant to follow.

State environmental officials, including Secretary Patrick McDonnell, on Wednesday toured the estimated $1 billion facility under construction along the Susquehanna River in Snyder County.

Royce Stricklan, project manager with Panda Power Funds, put Hummel Station at 88 percent complete. The 1,124-megawatt plant is expected to start feeding electricity to regional transmission organization PJM’s grid in February and build to full power by May when the plant will be handed over from the builder to the operator.

“We’ll go through an escalation where small amounts of power will be exported, then larger and larger amounts and then more continuous larger amounts,” Stricklan said.

Transportation and productivity issues — including an electrical fire that necessitated the replacement of a generator — set the project back about three months, Stricklan said. The month originally targeted for full operation was February.

Bechtel and Siemens Energy are the construction consortium for the power plant — Siemens having manufactured the system in Charlotte, N.C., and Bechtel responsible for engineering and construction. Panda, of Texas, is financing the bulk of the build and will operate the facility.

UGI Energy’s 34-mile pipeline running south from Lycoming County will fuel the plant with Marcellus Shale gas. The facility is expected to power 1 million homes in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The replacement of Sunbury Generation’s 1940s-era coal plant is billed by Panda as one of the largest in the country.

Hummel Station nearing completion

Muhammad Zaman, Air Quality Program Manager, Marcus Kohl, DEP Regional Director, Patrick McDonnell, DEP Secretary, answer questions about the Panda Hummel Station on Wednesday morning.

State Department of Environmental Protection officials hailed the power plant’s efficiency. McDonnell said there will be a 97 percent reduction in water usage compared to the old facility. Muhammad Zaman, air quality program manager, said greenhouse gasses would be lessened by 60 percent.

“Water quantity is also water quality. The more water you have, the more dilution you have, the better your water quality is within the river and within surrounding streams,” McDonnell said.

“There’s a tremendous gain as far as the river goes in temperature. When you simply use that little water for cooling purposes you’re not heating up that much water. What the river’s getting back is something that’s much more sustainable to aquatic life,” said Marcus Kohl, director of DEP’s Northcentral Region.

Work continues at the The Panda Hummel Station in Shamokin Dam on Wednesday morning.

Hummel Station is being built on 20 acres of about 200 owned by Sunbury Generation, all designated by the state as a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone with tax incentives for developers.

Sunbury Generation has a 30-year lease with Panda Power Funds and the two could be in business together again for a second plant, according to Sunbury Generation President Dave Meehan.

On Thursday, Meehan said his firm “partnered with Panda again” to develop a 1,100-megawatt plant on an adjacent 25.45-acre plot.

Meehan wouldn’t speak to financing for the proposed project and said, at this point, it’s in the permitting phase. Shamokin Dam Borough Council gave conditional approval for the project late last year. “The market has to cooperate,” Meehan said. “It’s going to come. It’s needed. We’re going to build another one.”

According to Energy Information Administration construction estimates for natural gas power plants — $1 million per megawatt — the proposed project also would top $1 billion.



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