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Developer proposes adding capacity to gas plant under construction in Ohio

The developer of a large gas-fired power plant now under construction in Ohio has asked state regulators to increase the plant's capacity even more.

Guernsey Power Station LLC on Jan. 8 asked the Ohio Power Siting Board to approve an amendment to its certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, allowing it to add another 225 MW to its already-approved Guernsey Power Station in Guernsey County, Ohio, in the Utica and Marcellus shale regions. The project site is near the eastern end of Tallgrass Energy LP's Rockies Express pipeline.

The plant, being developed by independent power producer Caithness Energy LLC, has already been enlarged once before. It was originally approved in October 2017 at 1,100 MW. In early 2018, an amendment to the certificate was sought to increase the plant's capacity by 550 MW, to 1,650 MW. The developer told the Ohio board that it had received approval from regional grid operator PJM Interconnection of a system impact study showing the additional output was feasible. That was granted in March 2018.

Caithness and its development partner, Apex Power Group Inc, began construction on the project in August 2019, with a target for commercial operation in fall 2022. At that time, they also announced the close of $1.6 billion in financing. They will use three General Electric Co. turbines, heat recovery turbine generators and steam turbine generators, ordered last September.

PJM has confirmed the Guernsey plant can accommodate another 225 MW, bringing its overall capacity to 1,875 MW, the developer said in its latest application to the siting board.

"The does not reflect a design modification or change in equipment but, rather, now allows for conditions of operation that would result in the full output," the application said. "No change to any other environmental permit or level of impact will result from this increase in generation." (Ohio Power Siting Board Case No. 20-033-EL-BGA)