×

Power plant appeal on agenda for Siting Board next week

Ohio Power Siting Board to decide on construction delay

LORDSTOWN — The Ohio Power Siting Board, when it meets next week, is expected to answer an appeal from the Massachusetts-based developer of a $1.2 billion power plant for more time to start construction of the facility.

Before the regulatory board Thursday is Clean Energy Future-Trumbull, LLC’s request to extend the Oct. 5 deadline one year for what’s called a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, which in simple language is approval to construct.

The company made the request in March, citing the hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact to the construction schedule of the plant — Trumbull Energy Center.

“Nearly two years after the beginning of the pandemic, the world is still dealing with the compounding nature and lingering effects of COVID-19. The project is not immune from these effects, which has ultimately delayed the financing and start of construction of the project,” Clean Energy Future’s request states.

IN FAVOR

Clean Energy Future’s request received broad support from local economic development and public officials.

Those who wrote letters in favor of the extension were Guy Coviello, president / CEO, Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber; Jim Kinnick, executive director, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments; Anthony Trevena, executive director, Western Reserve Port Authority; Warren Mayor Doug Franklin; and Franco Lucarelli, Warren’s utility services director.

“The economic impact begins with a three-year construction period. This means about 2 million work hours of union construction labor primarily for local families,” Coviello wrote. “This benefit is, of course, just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ since TEC brings a whole host of other benefits once it is operating.

“We have followed and supported the TEC project since its early stages in 2016 and on behalf of the Mahoning Valley business community we remain a strong proponent.”

SOME OPPOSITION

The time extension, however, was not without its detractors.

Shortly after TEC made the request on March 29, Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill and Kellie Bordner, village planning and zoning administrator / economic development director, wrote opposing the request, citing several concerns.

Those included wanting to know what the certificate means in the context of the village’s planning and zoning code and / or environmental permitting reviewed for land development projects.

The letter also stated no site plan review information had been given to the planning and zoning office and called into question the stated construction start date of fall 2022, stating it was “very misleading” because no information has been given to the village and the developer won’t align with the village’s master water plan to connect the plant.

Hill later verbally walked back the letter — which he admitted giving only a “brief purview” before signing — saying he was OK with the extension.

He followed that with a July 8 letter to the siting board memorializing in writing his request that the board withdraw the March 29 letter from consideration.

In response to the March letter, “TEC leadership immediately engaged with productive dialogue with leadership for the Village of Lordstown,” Hill, the mayor, wrote this month. “As a result of this dialogue, I am fully satisfied that the concerns voiced in our previous correspondence have been adequately resolved.

“This direct and timely engagement by TEC with the Village of Lordstown is consistent with TEC’s past practice of close engagement with the local community,” Hill wrote. “TEC should be commended for this ongoing commitment to meaningful engagement with the community.”

Hill’s letter on July 8 came three days after the village’s Board of Public Affairs and council separately approved a water-service agreement with Warren to provide the utility to the plant.

Those decisions followed weeks of delay while there was debate over whether Warren or the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District would provide the water, throwing the entire plan into jeopardy.

Bordner in an email Thursday stated Clean Energy Future-Trumbull has not yet submitted a site plan.

TAX DEAL

On Wednesday, Trumbull County commissioners approved a tax incentive package for the plant planned for Henn Parkway.

It calls for 100 percent abatement for 15 years on construction of the facility. According to the county, the company plans to invest $14 million to $17 million on new construction, $582 million to $616 million on machinery and equipment, $1 million to $3 million on furniture and fixtures and $3 million to $5 million on inventory.

Lordstown council and the Lordstown School District and Trumbull Career and Technical Center school boards have also approved the agreement. The plant will employ about 22 workers when operational.

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

COMMENTS

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today