Harrison gets power plant update

CADIZ — Harrison County residents learned how a new power plant will affect their county following a special press conference held recently.

EmberClear Corp., an energy development company, is set to develop a 1,050 megawatt natural gas-fired combined-cycle electric generating plant. The plant will sit on 100 acres in the Harrison Industrial Park. It will be designed to meet the growing industrial demands fueled by the local natural gas economy and replace older, less efficient plants, according to officials.

Texas-based EmberClear, which is investing nearly $1 billion in construction, estimates the plant will provide enough electricity to power 1 million homes.

The plant will use existing natural gas resources within the region. It will be delivered to the plant via nearby new and existing natural gas pipelines. There also will be a new electric transmission line that connects to AEP’s Nottingham facility, built 5 miles south of the plant.

The construction is set to start at the end of this year with a completion date in 2021. More than 700 construction workers will be hired during the three-year construction phase. Once built, the plant will be owned by Harrison Power LLC and employ more than 20 people full time. Harrison Power also agreed to use commercially reasonable efforts to hire from within the county.

“EmberClear approached us in 2015,” said Harrison County Commissioner Paul Coffland. “They had a few different locations in mind for the facility, but our Community Improvement Corp. worked hard to convince them we had the perfect location. Once our site was chosen, the process to work out the plant’s needs and how we could accomplish everything started. The last piece was the donation agreement for the P.I.L.O.T.”

The P.I.L.O.T. agreement, or the Payment in Lieu of Taxes, was announced by Harrison County Executive Director of Community and Economic Development Nick Homrighausen during the press conference. The agreement will allow the developer to make contributions to local political subdivisions while receiving an exemption from paying property taxes on the plant. In this instance, Harrison County provided a 15-year tax exemption as an incentive to attract the billion-dollar investment.

A total of $31 million is set to be shared by the Harrison Hills City School District, Harrison County and its villages and townships over the agreed 15 years. According to the agreement, payments are to be $2.5 million in each of the first two years, and then $2 million in each of the remaining 13 years. Of the $31 million, roughly $14 million will go to the school district.

“The Harrison Hills City Schools are pleased to help make this great opportunity for our county to become a reality,” said Superintendent Dana Snider. “It’s another small way we can express our appreciation for our residents’ support for our new school.”

More than $13 million of the $31 million will be divided among villages and townships to be used to purchase equipment or for other capital expenses. Cadiz will receive $4.65 million over the 15 years. The other nine villages will receive a total of $4.068 million, and the 15 townships will receive $4.929 million. The remaining 11 percent of the $31 million will go to the county to help support further economic development. Coffland said even though the plant will be in Cadiz, all political subdivisions in the county will benefit financially from the agreement.

The plant is being built near shale formations containing prolific amounts of low-priced natural gas. Several pipelines operated by Dominion East, Spectra, Energy Transfer and Columbia Gas are already within a few miles of the project site. In addition, several fractionation and gas distillation facilities already in Harrison County have plans to expand production.