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Calpine officials say regulatory approval looking favorable

Calpine Inc.

Monday, October 22, 2001

Calpine Inc.’s next state regulatory approval will come in less than a month, following an Ohio Power Siting Board public hearing Nov. 13.

And that crucial permit, as well as other licenses, looks favorable, said project development manager George Bacon.

"The major ones have been filed for a while," Bacon said. "And we spent a lot of time in the engineering phase to make sure they will be approved."

Calpine, together with CME North American Merchant Energy, became the first last year to announce plans for a natural gas fired power plant on land along County Road 1A in Hamilton Township.

Duke Energy followed suit with plans for its own natural gas power plant, boosting the future economic investment in Lawrence County past the billion dollar mark.

Last week, Bacon spent more than six hours at Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce’s Project Pride showcase of economic development – giving the public its most recent update of the company’s plans to build the 1,100-megawatt power plant.

Bacon explained how its combined cycle system, turbines, heat exchangers and other units will work; how several hundred construction jobs will be filled; how the public can take interest.

Most people had one thing on their minds, Bacon said – when can you start building, they asked.

"That’s our interest, too," he said, explaining that Calpine has completed additional reports to the Ohio Power Siting Board, and is now waiting for review and the public hearing.

"It’s important people come out to speak their mind, whatever that may be," he added. "Of course we’re hoping for a good showing and want people to come and show support for project."

The board has scheduled a public (non-adjudicatory) hearing for Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of Rock Hill Elementary No. 4 in Hanging Rock.

The board’s formal (adjudicatory) hearing will take place a few days later, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m. in Hearing Room 11-F at the offices of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, 180 East Broad St., Columbus.

Calpine has already made its decision – the project will move forward once approved, Bacon said.

"We always have to look at the economy, but I don’t see anything today that would keep us from building," he said.

Despite a downturn in the economy, whether natural or brought about because of the recent terrorist attacks, the project should fare well, Bacon added.

The plant will be here for 40 years, and short-term impacts should not affect long-term goals, he said.