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Calpine to hold public hearing

Calpine Corp.

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Calpine Corp. and CME North American Merchant Energy will hold a public hearing next week, Feb. 27, on plans to build a natural gas fired power plant in Hamilton Township.

The companies were attracted to the old U.S. 52 area’s infrastructure – abundant Ohio River water supply, large capacity natural gas lines and AEP’s high-power electrical substation.

They announced intentions last year to invest about $1 billion in several phases of the project.

The first phase of the Lawrence Energy Center LLC will be able to produce 850 to 1,100 megawatts for sale into the region’s wholesale power grid – a move that represents hundreds of construction jobs, millions spent locally and 30 to 35 full-time jobs. A second phase would double the power output.

The plant – proposed for construction on the old Goldcamp Farm – will use a jet-engine-like turbine burning natural gas to heat a large-capacity boiler that draws water from the Ohio River. The resulting steam will turn generators more efficiently than steam in coal-fired power plants, Calpine officials said.

And that efficiency will make the power cheaper, allowing the company to sell it competitively to power distributors around the country.

Next Tuesday’s hearing, 7-9 p.m. at Rock Hill Elementary No. 4 in Hanging Rock, will be similar to one held last week by power plant newcomer Duke Energy.

The meeting will allow for the public to view plans, meet with members of Calpine’s project team and make comments, as required by state law.

The Ohio Power Siting Board will make one of the final decisions on the project, using information from the public hearing.

Calpine and CME plan to submit a formal application to the siting board in the near future, according to the public hearing notice. The project must receive a certification of environmental compatibility and public need before construction can begin.