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Invenergy Mulls Another NatGas-Fired Power Plant in Pennsylvania

Chicago-based Invenergy LLC wants to develop another natural gas-fired power plant in Pennsylvania and is gauging interest for a facility about 20 miles south of Pittsburgh.

The company and Elizabeth Township commissioners hosted a public meeting last month about the proposal to build a 550 MW plant in Allegheny County on a 22-acre site that was once an industrial landfill. If built, the facility would be close to heavy drilling in both the Marcellus and Utica shales.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved an air quality permit in December for Invenergy's other project, a 1,500 MW gas-fired plant in Lackawanna County (see Daily GPIDec. 28, 2015). The site in Elizabeth is zoned for residential use, but it once accepted coal sludge and demolition waste from the steel industry and other businesses.

Townships officials are encouraged by the tax revenues and other benefits that the facility could generate, but are proceeding with caution given the site's history. Last month's meeting was reportedly contentious, according to several reports, and the company plans to hold another meeting before proceeding with permit applications.

Invenergy has said the facility, estimated to cost more than $350 million to construct, would take up to two years to build and create 200-300 temporary jobs.

Gas use for power generation has grown much faster in Ohio and Pennsylvania than it has across the United States since the power generation industry deregulated in the mid-1990s. In 1997, Ohio and Pennsylvania represented only 0.6% of all gas delivered to U.S. electric power consumers, rising to 6.4% in 2013.

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