Two power generation development companies have filed a pre-application notification letter for a 1,650 MW natural-gas fired power plant in Guernsey County, OH, that would utilize shale gas.

Apex Power Group LLC and Caithness Energy LLC are jointly developing the Guernsey Power Station. The pre-application letter, filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board, initiates the regulatory process. Apex revealed in early 2016 that it was considering a 1,100 MW facility, saying at the time it had already applied for electrical interconnection.

The facility would be located in Valley Township at the heart of the Utica Shale, where state regulators have issued 193 horizontal drilling permits to date. While the plant would be served by "one of multiple pipelines" in the region, according to the letter, the township is near the Rockies Express Pipeline. Guernsey Power Station would include three units, each using a gas and steam turbine, according to the notification.

The companies said construction is projected to start in 1Q2018, with commercial operation anticipated for late 2020. A public meeting also has been scheduled for Jan. 25 at a local high school to share information about the project with stakeholders.

Dozens of gas-fired power plants have either been proposed or are under construction across the Appalachian Basin to utilize cheap shale gas, with most in Pennsylvania. Ohio has approved five natural gas combined-cycle facilities since Utica development began with a combined capacity of more than 3,774 MW, according to Public Utilities Commission data. Four of those are under construction, and the total does not include conversion projects or proposed facilities that have yet to file with regulators.

Apex has developed the 400 MW Panoche Energy Center and the 300 MW Pio Pico Energy Center in California. Both of those plants are simple-cycle gas-fired facilities. The company is currently seeking financing for the proposed gas-fired Neches Station in Texas that would have a capacity of 450-900 MW.

Independent power producer Caithness has developed and operated more than 42 power projects across the country over the last 40 years. It most recently broke ground on the 1,029 MW Caithness Moxie Freedom Generation Station in Luzerne County, PA, that would utilize Marcellus Shale gas.