State and local officials gathered Thursday for the groundbreaking of Moxie Energy LLC and Caithness Energy LLC's 1 GW natural gas-fired power plant in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The $800 million facility, located in Luzerne County's Salem Township, will be connected to the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline and utilize Marcellus Shale gas to generate power to be sold into the PJM Interconnection market. Caithness said the facility will produce enough electricity to power 900,000 homes.
The groundbreaking kicks off an anticipated 34-month construction project that's expected to support an average of 250 jobs and 600 jobs at its peak. Caithness said construction payroll is expected to reach $80 million, while money spent on outside goods and services is expected to be $120 million.
Officials from project developer Moxie and power producer Caithness were joined for the groundbreaking by local officials from Salem, state lawmakers, partnering companies and producer Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., which has a large operational footprint in Northeast Pennsylvania. The facility will use high-efficiency General Electric Co. gas turbines to reduce emissions and employ other noise-reducing technologies. A combined-cycle plant, the facility has been designed to capture energy from heat exhaust to generate additional electricity, making it more efficient than older plants.
Engineering firm Gemma Power Systems LLC received notice from Moxie and Caithness in November to proceed with construction (see Daily GPI, Nov. 13) The facility, called the Caithness Moxie Freedom Power Generation Plant, cleared a major hurdle in September when the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved its air quality plan (see Daily GPI, Sept. 22).
The plant has been designed to use a cooling system that does not depend on large amounts of water from the nearby Susquehanna River or groundwater sources. Using a dry-cooling technology, the facility is expected to use 99% less water than a similarly sized plant with traditional cooling.
Moxie sold its two other natural gas-fired power projects in Pennsylvania to Panda Power Funds LP (see Daily GPI, Aug. 23, 2013). Those 800 MW facilities are under construction in Bradford and Lycoming counties.