Sustainability

Fremont Energy Center (Photo courtesy of AMP)

Weigh in on natural gas power plant

Discussions on the environmental consequences of the Village’s electricity sources have heated up of late, especially since its municipal power provider AMP last month asked the Village to purchase power from a new natural gas plant.

That combined-cycle natural gas power plant in Fremont, Ohio would provide immediate power to the Village for 35 years, according to the contract. The Fremont Energy Center, expected to come online by the end of the year, would operate only when generation costs are lower than the market price its members are paying. In response to a question from Council, AMP’s director of marketing and member relations Eric Lloyd said sourcing the natural gas from hydrologically-fracked reservoirs couldn’t be avoided.

Many villagers spoke against the project at Council’s June 6 meeting because of potential environmental damage from fracking, while AMP’s CEO Marc Gerken responded to concerns and promoted natural gas as environmentally-friendly. Council will vote on the contract at its June 20 meeting.

Let us know what you think about the natural gas plant by commenting below and see the June 9 edition of the News for the full story.

From a February AMP news release:

AMP SIGNS MOU WITH FIRSTENERGY ON FREMONT ENERGY CENTER COLUMBUS

The Fremont Energy Center (Photo courtesy of AMP)

 

American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) has entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) regarding the Fremont Energy Center, a 707 MW (fired) natural gas combined cycle generation plant currently under construction by FE and located predominantly in the City of Fremont, Ohio. The Fremont Energy Center is owned by FirstEnergy subsidiary, FirstEnergy Generation Corp.

Construction on the Fremont Energy Center is largely complete and the plant is expected to be commercially available by year end. Under the MOU, AMP and FirstEnergy have agreed to enter into exclusive negotiations toward AMP executing a definitive agreement by March 11, 2011, to purchase the facility from FE on or about July 1, 2011.

The Fremont Energy Center was formerly owned by Calpine Corporation, which filed bankruptcy in 2005. Calpine subsequently suspended construction of the plant and it was auctioned in 2007. AMP conducted considerable due diligence and bid on the facility at the time — with FirstEnergy ultimately having the winning bid.

The Fremont Energy Center fits well with AMP’s overall power supply strategy of reducing its members’ long-term reliance on wholesale power markets through development of diverse generation assets. AMP members presently rely on the wholesale market for more than 90 percent of their intermediate power supply needs. Based on AMP members’ long-term power supply analysis conducted by R.W. Beck (an SAIC company), the Fremont facility would provide a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, asset-based alternative to wholesale energy and capacity markets.

Analysis indicates that when compared to natural gas combined cycle alternatives, the Fremont facility would provide a $350 million savings to participating AMP members over 30 years, as well as a favorable energy market location and fuel supply optionality. Also important to AMP members is the mitigation of construction and permitting risks by acquiring a facility that is largely complete.

In late 2010, AMP announced its intent to develop a natural gas combined cycle facility on land in Meigs County that was formerly the site for a proposed coal-fired facility known as the American Municipal Power Generating Station (AMPGS). Those plans have been suspended based on the new developments with the Fremont facility.

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One Response to “Weigh in on natural gas power plant”

  1. Wayne Minnich says:

    My feelings on natural gas are that while they are in some ways preferable to coal plants, calling them environmentally friendly is laughable. Economical, perhaps, but such a plant would no doubt increase demand for natural gas produced within the local region, and since the predominant means of doing so nearby is fracking, I must remain opposed. As for the cost of electricity, I don’t personally feel that ours is unreasonably priced, and as for the village’s energy needs, they have gone down over the years, not increased. So unless we are facing some sort of shortage that the solar project wouldn’t be able to augment successfully, I don’t see the need, unless we’d be directly replacing only energy which we currently obtain through the use of coal burning.

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