The abundance of shale gas at favorable rates–and in steady, reliable supply–from the Marcellus & Utica Shales is driving the development of new power generation facilities across the region. Those factors, coupled with the proximity of this region to the nation’s primary load centers for electricity, make for very favorable development scenarios. This recent article profiles several such projects.
Power plant proposals fueled by cheap gas from Marcellus Shale
by David Falchek, Scranton Times-Tribune. Dec. 9, 2012
Rural Pennsylvania has an ocean of natural gas below ground and will soon have electricity produced at the surface.
Inexpensive, available fuel begets power plants. The exploitation of gas a mile below the surface in the Marcellus Shale rock formation has attracted power generation companies proposing natural gas-fired power plants, each at a cost of hundreds of million of dollars.
Moxie Liberty LLC plans a 900-megawatt power plant in Asylum Twp. and another in Lycoming County, to be called Moxie Patriot. Future Power PA Inc. has a 300-megawatt plant planned for Schuylkill County and a sister company has plans for second in the same area. They are among the nine plants statewide that have applied to the state Department of the Environmental Protection. The Northeast, long at the end of the pipeline, is now on top of a huge natural gas reserve.
“Look at the change in the projected flow of natural gas into the Northeast,” said Steven Schork, Villanova-based publisher of the online newsletter the Schork Report, which reports energy and shipping markets. “It had been coming from Canada, the Rockies, from LNG (liquefied natural gas). Now, we don’t need it because we have our own and we are pushing it in the other direction.”
Moxie Liberty is one of the first to be approved, a project expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, scheduled to break ground in Asylum Twp. in March with turbines spinning by 2015. The Moxie Patriot plant in Clinton will follow.
Unlike a similar project for the same site a decade ago that drew opposition, this time around there hasn’t been much controversy, said township supervisor Lee Allyn.
He thinks that is because the Moxie project will not draw water from the Susquehanna River nor discharge water into the river. The plant would use Towanda Municipal Authority’s water and sewer system.
Last year, a group of officials from the Endless Mountains area visited a similar generating facility in the southern Pennsylvania. Such plants make so little noise that the arriving visitors were disappointed–thinking it was shut down, Mr. Allyn said.