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Commissioners support power plant

County commissioners approved a resolution of support Thursday for Duke Energy’s proposed power plant in Hamilton Township – making it two for two.

Thursday, March 08, 2001

County commissioners approved a resolution of support Thursday for Duke Energy’s proposed power plant in Hamilton Township – making it two for two.

Commissioners previously provided a support resolution to Calpine/CME North American Merchant Energy. Duke and Calpine propose separate multi-thousand-watt plants that will generate electricity by burning natural gas – a cleaner alternative that’s on the cutting edge of today’s technology.

Both chose sites near Hanging Rock because of an abundant water supply from the Ohio River and AEP’s nearby high-power electrical transmission substation.

In its endorsement resolution, the commission said it encourages job creation projects and called it exciting that Duke Energy is also interested in Lawrence County development.

The resolution stated the county had received assurances that there is enough room for both Duke and Calpine to build power plants.

A resolution of support from the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce membership also is expected, said Pat Clonch, executive director of the chamber and the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation (LEDC).

Mrs. Clonch agreed with commissioners that the interest in the Hanging Rock area as a possible power plant center is exciting.

"The opportunity to see this much activity is good, especially with what we’ve been through," she said, speaking of the area’s recent job losses.

Although both plants – if built – will only employ about 60 people full-time, the reliable source of electricity they create can attract much more job-creating industry, LEDC officials have said.

Duke proposes a 40-acre plant that represents a $500 million investment. The project will need 400 construction jobs over 19 months and employ 20 to 25 people full-time afterward.

"We are in the process of preparing regulatory permit applications," said Charles Claunch, Duke’s project development director.

The company filed an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board on Feb. 28 and an EPA permit went in this week, he said.

At a required public meeting last week, Calpine executives said they are also in the permitting process. Company representatives said $510 million of capital investment will be placed in the plant. The company also estimates 350 to 400 union construction jobs will be created to build the plant in the first phase, which is projected to take two years to complete.

One spokesman said, "In Calpine’s eyes, the Lawrence County project is a go."