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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.