Energy Company Developing Natural Gas Power Plant in Middletown
Florida-based NTE Energy plans to develop, own and operate a 500-megawatt natural gas electric-generating facility in Middletown, Ohio. The project will be called the Middletown Energy Center and will be one of the most efficient natural gas-fired power plants in the United States—able to generate enough power to supply approximately 400,000 homes, according to Michael Schuster, NTE project developer.
|Rendering of Middletown Energy Center|
Middletown’s “strategic location” was one of the attributes that attracted the company, according to Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. “This is a very significant development,” added Mulligan Jr. “It’s very exciting.”
The project is expected to begin construction in 2015 and become fully operational in 2018. The estimated $500 million cost to build the power plant would represent the largest business investment in Butler County in recent years. During the construction phase, the Middletown Energy Center is expected to create approximately 300-400 construction jobs. Upon completion, the project is estimated to add approximately 25-30 full-time jobs to the Middletown area, most of which are expected to come from the local workforce.
City officials are enthusiastic about both the project’s short- and long-term potential for economic development. “While the construction of the site will be a significant initial boost for the local job market, we believe that the economic impact for the City will be long-term,” said Judith Gilleland, Middletown city manager. “The City of Middletown has much to offer companies and industries looking to expand or relocate. The proposed Middletown Energy Center points to the diversity of technology and industries that our region can support.”
The project is emblematic of Ohio’s changing utility landscape—from the reduction (retiring) of coal-fired facilities to the increased supply and affordability of gas. As the trend continues, new sources of clean baseload power with the ability to deliver electricity around the clock are needed to meet consumer demand.
NTE is focused on developing electric generation using clean-burning natural gas. “The need for affordable, cleaner baseload generation is upon us,” said Seth Shortlidge, president of NTE Energy. “NTE Energy looks forward to working with the Middletown community in developing one of the cleanest, most efficient and most reliable sources to fulfill this growing demand.”
Combined-cycle power plants such as the Middletown Energy Center use significantly less water, produce fewer emissions and provide more power with minimal environmental impacts compared with more traditional forms of generation.
These plants are more efficient than coal-burning plants because during “peak times” they’re able to increase the amount of power faster than coal plants. At combined-cycle electric generating plants, natural gas-fueled combustion turbine-driven generators produce part of the plant’s electrical output. The excess heat from the turbines is used to generate steam, which drives steam turbine-generator sets to produce more electricity. The result is more electricity from the same amount of fuel and reduced emissions on a per-megawatt basis.
Before choosing Middletown for its latest site, NTE conducted a rigorous site selection process. “We looked at several areas. The site that was ultimately selected included criteria such as access to electrical transmission lines, natural gas pipelines and water, and other infrastructure needs,” said Schuster. “The selected site has two major interstate natural gas pipelines running adjacent to it, as well as an electrical transmission line crossing it. Its close proximity to infrastructure coupled with the tremendous support we received from the City of Middletown makes this an excellent location.”
As Congress considers further legislation regulating the coal industry, it will be even more important to have an ample supply of clean energy, noted Denise Hamet, City of Middletown director of economic development. “This new clean energy process will have a positive impact on the area,” said Hamet. “We’ll be able to provide abundant, clean energy to support our growing base of advanced manufacturing companies and it will help continue growing Middletown’s overall industrial base by providing more power.”