Jessup, PA - Plans for Largest Natural Gas Plant

Brendan Gibbons

Jessup may soon be home to one of the state’s largest natural gas power plants.

Chicago-based Invenergy LLC plans to place its Lackawanna Energy Center on 80 acres bounded by Valley View Drive and Sunnyside Road, according to a permit application the company filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Invenergy plans to begin construction in June and finish by 2017, Invenergy spokeswoman Alissa Krinsky said in an email. The company will employ a workforce of 600 during the two-year construction phase.

During regular operations, the plant will provide about 30 jobs, she said.

“Invenergy is always looking to engage talented local residents to work on our power generation projects both during construction and in operation,” Ms. Krinsky said, adding that the project will also provide tax revenue and increased commerce for local businesses.

The plant’s maximum capacity is 1,300 megawatts, significantly larger than Panda Power Funds’ Liberty and Patriot plants underway in Bradford County and Lycoming County, respectively.

Only PPL Corp.’s Martins Creek plant in Northampton County would be larger, at 1,772 megawatts, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s map of existing facilities.

The plant will have a minimal effect on local electrical rates, PPL Corp. spokesman George Lewis said.

Despite the plant’s size, its local effects would be difficult to pinpoint in the PJM Interconnection power market, which stretches across 13 states and includes 167,000 megawatts of generating capacity.

“It would be hard to look at one plant on its own,” Mr. Lewis said. “It’s part of a really, really big market.”

The plant will generate electricity using three natural-gas-fired turbines. A shared steam turbine and heat recovery steam generator will convert waste heat from the turbines into more electricity.

To reduce harmful air emissions, the plants will use selective catalytic reduction to cut down on nitrogen oxides, and catalytic oxidation to cut down on carbon monoxide.

The facility’s air quality permit will likely require these controls, Ms. Krinsky said. Invenergy uses them in all its gas projects, she said. The company is responsible for six natural gas, five solar and 55 wind power projects in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Still, those controls won’t completely eliminate emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, fine particles and sulfuric acid, the application states.

Two major reasons Invenergy chose this part of Jessup are its proximity to a transmission line and natural gas sources, the application states. PPL’s Susquehanna-Roseland line runs nearby, and the interstate gas pipelines Transco and Tennessee Gas Pipeline run through neighboring counties. UGI Utilities Inc. also provides natural gas service to the Lackawanna Valley.

Invenergy is still negotiating on its source of gas, Ms. Krinsky said.

Efforts to reach all Jessup council members were unsuccessful, except for vice president Maggie Alunni, who said she would need to see more information before commenting.