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Tax Breaks Advance Northeast Ohio NatGas Power Plant

After vetoing a request to rezone a 57-acre site for an 800 MW natural gas-fired power plant, the northeast Ohio village of Lordstown on Tuesday approved a significant tax incentive package for the facility to be constructed at a new site, moving the project closer to reality.

Boston-based electricity wholesale company Clean Energy Future LLC selected a 30-acre site in an industrial park after the planning commission in Lordstown ruled against zoning its first site for industrial use. But the Village Council on Tuesday approved a 15-year property tax abatement for the new site.

Under the deal, Clean Energy would pay the Lordstown School District $500,000 when it starts construction and make two additional payments in the same amount thereafter. Once the facility is built, the company would make annual payments to the school district through its first 15 years of operations totaling nearly $19 million.

Clean Energy has developed similar facilities from Maine to California, including in northwestern Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Lordstown plant is the first of its kind announced for northeast Ohio. The company selected the site for its proximity to the Marcellus and Utica shale plays and electricity corridors with power lines that connect Cleveland and Pittsburgh (see Daily GPI, April 17).

The plant is expected to cost up to $800 million to construct. When Clean Energy announced plans for the facility last year, it said construction could begin in December, but with the incentive package approved, Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said the company could break ground by October. The facility would be able to provide enough power for 500,000 homes.

Clean Energy also has estimated that tax revenues generated by the plant for Lordstown over a 40-year period could reach $95.5 million. If construction begins by the end of the year, Clean Energy expects the facility to be operational by 2018.

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