Updated: 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 | Posted: 6:37 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014

$500M natural gas plant planned for Middletown

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The Middletown Energy Center, located on Cincinnati Dayton Road, is expected to be operational in 2018 and have a $500 million impact on the local economy. Between 300 to 400 construction jobs will be created, and once the plant is operational, 25 to 30 full-time workers will be needed, according to officials.

By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN —

A Florida-based energy company has proposed building a natural gas-fired power plant in Middletown that would represent an investment of more than $500 million and bring more than 400 jobs to Butler County.

NTE Energy plans to develop, own and operate what it’s calling “one of the most efficient natural gas-fired power plants in the United States.” The facility, to be called the Middletown Energy Center and located on Cincinnati Dayton Road, near Oxford State Road, will generate enough power to supply approximately 400,000 homes, the company said.

Tim Eves, executive vice president of development, said the company is still exploring who will be its customer base.

Middletown Mayor Lawrence Mulligan, Jr., compared the project and its financial impact to the region to Suncoke, a cokemaking and heat generating plant that opened in 2011 in Middletown.

“This is a very significant development,” Mulligan said. “It’s very exciting.”

Mulligan said he heard about the project possibly coming to Middletown last month and met with company officials last week. He said negotiations went “pretty quickly.” The mayor said Middletown’s “strategic location” was one of the attributes that attracted the company.

The Middletown Energy Center has begun permit applications and entered the PJM interconnection queue, the regional transmission organization, officials said. The project is expected to begin construction in 2015 and become operational in 2018, they said.

The bulk of the 300 to 400 construction jobs are expected to be filled by the members of skilled trades unions, the company said. Upon completion, the project is slated to add approximately 25 to 30 full-time jobs to the Middletown area, most of which are expected to come from the local workforce.

As the energy landscape continues to change, the need for affordable, cleaner base load generation is now, said Seth Shortlidge, president of NTE Energy. He said the company 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.”

The center will utilize a Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas advanced combustion turbine in combined cycle configuration. This design captures exhaust heat from the combustion turbine and utilizes it in a steam cycle, allowing the facility to generate approximately 500 MW of low-cost electric power. This next generation electric generating technology, fueled by clean burning natural gas, allows for greater operating efficiencies and results in up to 60 percent less emissions than that of older, more conventional sources of base load power, officials said.

NTE Energy is developing three projects located in Middletown, West Texas and North Carolina and pursuing early-stage opportunities in several other locations, officials said.

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