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Two More NatGas-Fired Power Plants Advancing in Pennsylvania

Plans for two more natural gas-fired power plants are advancing in Central Pennsylvania, adding to a growing list of more than two dozen similar facilities that have either been proposed, approved or are under review in the state that would utilize Marcellus and Utica shale gas.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services signed over a portion of the property at a state prison that closed in 2013 to the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority. Ninety-three of 425 acres were transferred, which makes it easier for Greensburg, PA-based Keytex Energy to negotiate a deal for the power plant it wants to build on the site. The remaining acreage, the state said, should be put up for sale next month.

Negotiations for the property stalled last year when Keytex pulled out over uncertainty about who controlled the property. Hundreds of jobs were lost when the prison closed in 2013. The next hurdle for Keytex, a full-service energy and consulting company, is an engineering study to determine the appropriate size and capacity for the facility. PJM Interconnection, the region's grid operator, would also have to determine if any electrical substations are needed.

The plant would be located about 20 miles west of Jackson Township, where Maryland-based Competitive Power Ventures Inc. (CPV) is also proceeding with its plan to build a 980 MW natural gas-fired facility. Construction on that plant is expected to begin in early 2017, with start-up planned for late 2019.

The facility is planned for a former salvage yard and would cost about $900 million to build. CPV said the project remains on schedule, with all the necessary permit applications filed. It would source gas from a nearby transmission pipeline and utilize water from a nearby reservoir.

CPV focuses on both natural gas and renewable electric generation. It has more than 8,300 MW of natural gas-fired generation under development, 1,400 MW under construction and another 800 MW in operation across North America.

Both facilities are expected to create hundreds of construction jobs and dozens of permanent positions.

In the last five years, as production from the region's Marcellus and Utica shales has increased sharply, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental protection has approved more than two dozen new natural gas-fired power plants. Plan approval applications for several more are also under review at the DEP, according to an agency spokesman.

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