Q & A 2017-10-17T14:51:22+00:00
American Power Ventures (APV) develops and manages power generation and infrastructure projects for its own account as well as on behalf of private developers, municipalities, cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, industrial companies, and private equity investors. APV’s mission is to balance the needs of all stakeholders while executing and delivering its projects in a transparent, cost-effective, and socially responsible manner. APV’s team has more than 120 years of combined experience in all aspects of power and infrastructure development, from concept to commercialization, and has participated in the development and/or financing of more than 4,500 MW of power plants representing a total investment in excess of $6 billion. APV has developed approximately 3,000 MW of power plants in operation or construction with another 3,000 MW in planning.
APV is developing a 1,000 megawatt clean, state-of-the-art, natural gas-fueled power generation facility. The Project will supply the electricity needs of approximately one million homes.
The Project will be built on the former coal pile area of FirstEnergy’s retired Hatfield’s Ferry power plant. The site was chosen because of its historical use as a power generation site and because it is close to existing electrical transmission infrastructure, river and municipal water, and major gas lines. The site also has existing infrastructure that can be re-used as part of the Project. In addition to infrastructure benefits, APV is also committed to preservation of the environment. Using this idled brownfield site will not only benefit soil and groundwater quality, it will avoid the need to permanently impact green space.
The old coal handling equipment and one of the cooling towers on the Project site will be safely demolished and removed from the Project site. In addition, the Project site will be cleaned up of an any residual coal and new clean fill will be brought in. These efforts will significantly reduce the existing impacts to soils and groundwater. The construction of the Project will also prevent rainwater from seeping into the ground and in this way promote further groundwater cleanup.
APV is buying approximately 33 acres of the old Hatfield’s Ferry coal plant site from FirstEnergy. FirstEnergy will maintain ownership of the rest of the Hatfield’s Ferry site, including the ash storage area on the other side of East Furman Highway. FirstEnergy will be separate and not own any portion of the Project.
APV is unaware of FirstEnergy’s plans for the remainder of the Hatfield’s Ferry site.
The Project will provide the local community with significant benefits. It will employ about 800 people during peak construction and up to 25 people during operations; increase the volume of commerce to local hotels, restaurants and other businesses; contribute to local property taxes; increase revenues to local gas producers; clean up the former coal pile area of the Hatfield’s Ferry power plant; and be an overall good community steward.

As a state-of-the art, environmentally friendly power plant, the Project will help shift the source of power away from older plants with greater emissions. Electricity produced by the Project will increase electric reliability, reduce the frequency of brown-outs, and help keep electricity prices in check.

As a result of tightening environmental regulations and competition from power plants using cheap natural gas, many older coal plants are no longer economically viable. Consequently, a large number of older coal plants are retiring and being replaced by clean natural gas plants. At the same time, demand for power is continuing to grow as our society relies more heavily on the use of more affordable electronics including TV’s, computers, cell phones and miscellaneous devices connected to the internet. The Project will also reduce the likelihood of brown-outs and help keep electricity prices in check. In so doing, the Project will help meet the public’s need for clean, affordable and reliable electricity.
Power plants typically have an operational lifetime of 30 years; however, the Project could last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.
Renewables such as wind and solar power are not available on demand. They produce electricity when the wind blows or when the sun shines. To keep the lights on and have a reliable grid, other sources of power are needed that can ramp up and down quickly and complement renewables. Nuclear and coal plants are not designed to be cycled up and down. On the other hand, natural gas plants like the Project are designed with this cycling capability. Power generated using natural gas will therefore be used for the foreseeable future as a clean “bridge-source” of power as the grid shifts to more renewables.
APV considers safety of its employees, contractors and the community its highest priority. Modern power plants are designed to comply with health and safety regulations. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) creates and enforces regulations that are protective of the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents, and the Project must meet or exceed these standards.

The Project will be designed and built to industry standards and using best available technologies. The Project will also be designed and operated to meet PADEP’s standards. Once it begins operating, PADEP will monitor the Project’s environmental performance using continuous emissions monitoring equipment that will be built into the Project. In addition to the continuous emissions monitoring, periodic additional testing will be performed to ensure compliance.

The Project is designed and will be built to meet or exceed all local, state and federal health and safety standards. Natural gas is used safely in millions of homes across America, as well as in vehicles and in industrial facilities, including power plants. Safety is of the utmost importance to APV. APV works with experienced contractors who have excellent health, safety and environmental records designing, building and operating similar power plants. APV will take every precaution to design, build and operate the Project in a safe manner to protect its employees, contractors, surrounding residents and wildlife.
The Project site encompasses 33 acres along the Monongahela River on the site of the retired Hatfield’s Ferry power station. The public is buffered from the Project to the north, west and south by the remaining property of the former Hatfield’s Ferry station and to the east by the Monongahela River.

The Project will have two new stacks that will each be approximately 250 feet tall, which is approximately 1/3 the height of the Hatfield’s Ferry plant’s stacks and half the height of the existing cooling towers. These new stacks may be partly visible from some angles and distances. A water vapor plume from the cooling tower may be visible at times. The Project is also located at a lower elevation compared to the surrounding areas which will further reduce its visibility. Outdoor lighting at the Project will be pointed downward and inward to ensure minimal overflow lighting outside the Hatfield’s Ferry facility’s property line. Energy production equipment will be housed within enclosures that will reduce sound from the Project during operation. During operation, the audible sound at the property line is typically similar to the decibel level of a conversation between two people and will be at approximately the same level as when the coal plant was operational. No odors are expected to be emitted from the Project.

APV feels welcomed by civic and business leaders as well as private residents. These members have expressed appreciation for the benefits the Project will provide, including jobs, new tax revenue, increased commerce, the revitalization and clean-up of an industrial brownfield site, and a continued and open line of communication.
In addition to providing clean, reliable power for the region, the Project will: increase revenues to local gas producers; provide property tax revenue to local units of government; boost the local economy, with a total estimated construction cost of more than $600 million; and create more than 800 peak construction jobs and up to 25 well-paying, full-time jobs during operation.

There will be additional “trickle down” benefits during construction and operation, as the construction workers and Project employees eat in restaurants and shop in local establishments. In addition, there will be a number of opportunities for ongoing contracting work to local companies.

A conservative rule of thumb is that a large capital-intensive Project such as this one brings seven times the amount of its investment in overall economic benefit. For the Project, that will mean, conservatively, an overall economic impact of $4 billion.

Plant construction will offer employment opportunities to qualified local laborers and skilled craft workers. APV will hire a construction contractor to complete engineering and build the Project. The contractor will procure materials and subcontracts for certain portions of the work. The contractor will make a concerted effort to hire workers from the local area wherever possible. In some cases involving specialized work, the contractor may need to procure skills outside the region.

Over the entire construction period, an average of approximately 300 trades and other workers will be at the site. During peak construction, the number could grow to 800. The average construction worker is typically on site for about five months.

APV is planning construction to begin in mid-2018 and to be completed around mid-2021. APV will begin to accept applications for full-time employment at the Project in late 2020 to allow time for training before operations begin.

Water is used at the Project primarily to cool equipment but also to make steam, which powers the steam turbine-generator portion of the Project’s electric generating capacity. As it does this, the process is very efficient. The Project will use best available technology to cool its equipment by use of a “closed loop” cooling system connected to a cooling tower. A closed loop system recycles water and minimizes water usage.

The Project is expected to use an annual average of about 5.5 million gallons of water per day (MGD) from the Monongahela River to replace water lost primarily through evaporation and “blowdown.” This amount is about 1/3 the amount of water formerly used by the Hatfield’s Ferry coal plant. The Project will also return an annual average of about 1.1 MGD to the River after the water has been recycled and meets PADEP discharge requirements. For reference, the average flow rate of the Monongahela River near the Project’s location is approximately 8,900 MGD.

The Project will also use an annual average of about 110,000 gallons per day of municipal water from Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority for equipment requiring higher quality water, lavatories and other potable water needs.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) is authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to administer the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The NPDES permit establishes effluent limitations and the monitoring frequency of the return water to the river. Once the NPDES permit is issued, APV will be responsible for monitoring and reporting the parameters listed to maintain compliance with the NPDES permit.
The amount of water discharged into the river will vary based on atmospheric conditions and operation ranges of the Project; however, APV expects the annual average daily discharge to be on the order of 1.1 million gallons per day. The wastewater will mostly consist of blowdown water that has been used by the Project for non-contact cooling and other purposes. The wastewater will be treated as necessary to meet the limits in the Project’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
The Project is required to control storm water runoff from the 33-acre Project site. Stormwater runoff will be controlled under an individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that will include construction and post-construction activities. To meet this requirement, APV is currently planning to design a stormwater detention basin that will control the rate of stormwater discharged to the Monongahela River. This measure alone will not prevent flooding conditions, but it will delay some of the storm water flow from the Project to the river during storm events. The return water flow from the Project is not subject to restrictions during flooding events.
Emissions from the Project will not adversely affect air quality in Greene County, Fayette County or elsewhere. Because the Project will be a major source of air contaminants, it is required to meet all applicable air quality requirements, including Best Available Control Technology, Lowest Achievable Emission Rates and Pennsylvania Best Available Technology. APV has submitted an Air Quality Plan Approval Application to PADEP that includes an air dispersion model. This model shows the Project will not have an adverse impact on air quality in the area. The model also shows the Project’s emissions will be significantly less than historical emissions from the old Hatfield’s Ferry coal plant.
Power plants developed by APV are designed, constructed and operated to meet or be better than all applicable state and national environmental standards. Natural gas is recognized as today’s cleanest commercial fossil fuel for power generation; emissions will be very low. The emissions most regulated for natural gas-fueled plants are nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. However, the combination of natural gas as fuel, state-of-the-art design and best available/lowest achievable control technology will limit emissions. A clean-burning natural gas plant will also provide a cleaner source of electricity for the region as nearby coal power plants retire.
A transmission line roughly 1,000 feet in length will connect the Project to West Penn Power’s existing substation at the Hatfield’s Ferry power station. The transmission line will run entirely on FirstEnergy’s property without the need to cross any public property. Since the Project is replacing power that used to be generated and injected into the grid at the same location by the retired Hatfield’s Ferry generating facility, APV does not anticipate any other transmission system lines will need to be constructed as a result of the Project being built.
As with any industrial facility, the Project will produce small quantities of waste. All wastes from the Project will be properly shipped and disposed off-site in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations.
Unlike some other power generators that use distillate oil as a backup fuel, the Project will rely entirely on the availability of gas to produce power. Natural gas pipelines are highly reliable and are shut down infrequently for scheduled maintenance. The Project and the pipeline company will schedule planned shutdowns to coincide so as not to impact each other’s operations. In the unlikely event the gas pipeline was unable to deliver fuel to the Project due to an unscheduled interruption, the Project will be shut down in an orderly fashion and await the return of gas availability.

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