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Keys Energy Center asks Maryland to speed final approval of power generation project

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Keys Energy Center asks Maryland to speed final approval of power generation project


Keys Energy Center has asked Maryland officials to allow approval of its 755-MW gas-fired generation project to become final October 3 to allow construction to begin as soon as possible on the proposed Brandywine, Maryland, plant.

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"Prompt approval is vital to being able to complete construction and begin operation by June 1, 2017, to satisfy PJM requirements," the company said in a letter dated Wednesday to the Public Service Commission.

Projects that cleared the PJM Interconnection's capacity auction in May are committed to being online by that date, Ray Dotter, a PJM spokesman, said Thursday.

Construction is expected to take 33 months.

"Time is already short," the company, a subsidiary of Needham, Massachusetts-based Genesis Power, said in the letter.

Robert Place, president of Genesis Power, said earlier in testimony filed with the PSC that the company cannot close on project financing until it has a final, non-appealable order from the PSC and cannot begin construction without financing.

Energy Investors Funds, a private equity fund also in Needham, has the option to provide all of the equity necessary to build the Keys Energy Center, according to Keys' website. EIF lists the project as one of its investments in development.

The proposed certificate of public convenience and necessity was issued Friday after negotiations regarding air permit conditions were completed.

The PSC normally allows 30 days for an appeal of a proposed order before a certificate becomes final.

Keys agreed to all conditions recommended by all parties and all parties have agreed on permitting conditions, the company said.

"There effectively is no one with standing to note an appeal. It is only logical that the appeal period be shortened," the company said.

The state's power plant research program, which reviewed the air permit conditions, does not object to shortening the appeal time, Assistant Attorney General Steven Talson said in a letter dated September 18.

The PSC staff in July recommended approval of the project first proposed in 2012 as a 735-MW unit that would use recycled water for cooling.

Problems siting the water line and the natural gas pipeline delayed the project.

Issues regarding the gas pipeline were resolved in April after an agreement was reached with Pepco to allow the 20-inch pipeline to follow the utility's 500-kV transmission line right of way for most of the route.

The pipeline would tie into Dominion Transmission's pipeline 8 miles south of the Keys project.

Issues with the plans to use recycled water to cool the plant were resolved by changing the unit to include an air-cooled system.

--Mary Powers,
--Edited by Jason Lindquist,