Planners move forward on Renovo plant

Construction could start October 2017

LOCK HAVEN — The proposed $800 million power plant project in Renovo moved one step closer to construction Tuesday evening, when it received the conditional approval of the Clinton County Planning Commission.

The conditional approval followed an extensive report by William Bousquet, director of engineering and construction, outlining a large number of technical aspects to the project.

Construction is expected to begin in October 2017, pending all applicable permits being in place. Bechtel Development Corp. will provide the engineering and construction oversight for the plant, which would provide electricity for customers in Pennsylvania and New York.

At its peak, about 900 construction workers will be on site at the property now primarily owned by Renovo Rail, according to information provided by Renovo Energy.

The construction could take up to three years, with about 30 permanent positions when the power plant is operating.

Clinton County Economic Partnership President Mike Flanagan, who attended the meeting, said he was very thankful for the cooperative attitude shown by all the agencies and municipalities during  the early stages. While the permit  process remains complicated, the commission’s approval of the subdivision and  land development plans should  allow the developers to move ahead with plans for seeking financial support, officials said.

The approval was granted contingent on the developers providing more depth in their sound reduction standards and more detail when it comes to compliance with borough parking standards.

The focus of questions during the meeting included the plant’s plans for  wastewater flows, rights of way for power and natural gas lines, setback requirements and how the large equipment will be moved to the site. REC plans to use some water from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River to cool the plant.

Kleinschmidt consultants submitted plans for the Renovo Energy Center in Renovo Borough on Nov. 9.

Associated with the gas fired power plant located on the old Pennsylvania Rail Yard property is a water intake and discharge at Fourth Street, a 6.5-mile natural gas pipeline extension to the property, two new power lines and substations to connect to the grid. The submission included drawings, a  stormwater management plan, and an erosion and sedimentation control plan. The property in Renovo zoned Heavy Industry and a  power generation plant is a  permitted use. The area included in the limits of disturbance for the entire project is 169 acres.

The plant will consist of two 475 megawatt natural gas turbine boilers, two heat recovery steam generators, two banks of air-cooled condensers, and two stacks.

The plant has an expected net output of about 950 megawatts.

The project will give energy to a region in which electricity demand is forecasted to increase and supply is expected to decrease with the retirement of older power plants.

The site is now classified as a Brownfield by the Environmental Protection Agency.  Development of the project will include management and remediation of contaminated soils, thereby repurposing a location that is undesirable for use. Two existing high voltage transmission lines cross the top of the mountain about one-mile north of the proposed site.

Bousquet talked about the need for a number of traffic controls during  the construction phase to handle the  need for upward of 400 vehicle traveling to and from the construction site on any given day during the 30-plus month construction process, but said the parking needs will drop off dramatically when the plant is finished.

Chapman Township will also have to contribute to the permit and planning process, as a number of private and DCNR properties are transected by the transmission lines.

Bousquet said it’s hoped that all the permits will be in place by the end of March.