Construction at former Ormet facility nearing

HANNIBAL, Ohio — By the second quarter of this year, construction is scheduled to begin at the former site of the Ormet Aluminum Corp. in Monroe County for a new natural gas-fueled power plant.

The Ormet facility closed in 2013 due to high utility costs after the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio did not grant rate relief the company said it needed for electricity to continue operation.

Now the site, purchased by Niagara Worldwide in 2014, is known as the Center Port Terminal and is under the management of Ohio River Partners.

The plan for the 43840 Ohio 7, Hannibal, site includes building a 485-megawatt natural gas fired electric-generating facility.

And though early projections to have construction begin by the end of 2017 didn’t pan out, consultants for the Hannibal Port Power Project say the critical permits are either acquired or in final stages and construction will begin this year.

“At present the company is evaluating engineering and construction bids and advancing additional technical and development activities that need to be complete before construction begins,” said Lou Gentile, principal with Vorys Advisors LLC, which is consulting on the project. “Then we’re looking to begin construction during the second quarter of 2018 and for the project to be completed by 2020. We’ve got the power citing board and air permits, what we consider our critical permits.”

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency awarded air emissions permits for the construction of the site in November but the Southeast Ohio Building Department has yet to see any applications for building permits.

“Ohio River Partners does need another permit before it can begin construction,” said Dina Pierce, media coordinator for the Ohio EPA’s northwest and southwest districts.

“The air pollution control permit-to-install was issued by the Ohio EPA in November. The public comment period for the company’s wastewater discharge draft permit closed Dec. 29. Ohio EPA is reviewing comments and continuing to process the permit. The company needs to have both permits before beginning construction of the structure.”

Gentile explained that the site of the energy facility would encourage further development of the Long Ridge Energy Terminal which as a whole covers 1,660 acres between the Monroe County and West Virginia sides of the Ohio River.

“I remember when the Ormet facility closed,” said Gentile, who formerly served the area as a state senator. “But this is an opportunity to rebuild and redevelop that site and build the workforce and the Monroe County community that I really worked on when in public office.”

Mark Barry, Ohio River Partners technical consultant, further explained that the site is similar in concept to how the Dynegy Washington Energy Facility in Beverly is run with natural gas feeding a combustion turbine and the captured exhaust feeding a steam turbine.

“But it’s more compact as this is the next evolution in energy,” he said. “With one generator it’s more powerful, more efficient and fires at higher temperatures. It will be one of the most efficient power plants anywhere.”

Barry said the plant will upon completion be connected to the PJM Interconnect, the local power grid.

Gentile said while the Ohio EPA completes its review of the final permit and the company looks to select a bid for engineering and construction, he has focused his energy on community and leadership outreach and has been pleased by the feedback he has received not only from development officials but also elected officials in the county and townships.

“And we even have the local buildings and trades council support. We had 150 people turn out for the (Ohio) EPA hearing in November with no testimony in opposition of the project,” he said.

Bill Hutchinson, business manager of the Parkersburg-Marietta Building and Construction Trades Council, said as the national contractor is selected for the project’s engineering and construction, he has faith that local skilled workers will be used for the project.

“We’ve talked (with Gentile and Ohio River Partners) about using our local guys and you’re looking at between 300 and 350 people they’d need at peak times but around 700 guys in the various jobs,” he said. “That is a great job for us and we’re looking forward to building that plant, having the 20-25 people to run the plant once it’s complete and having our guys perform maintenance on it.”

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