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Pennsylvania gas-fired power plant's early completion could weigh on power prices

Highlights

1,050-MW CPV Fairview Energy Center reaches commercial operations

Potential to lower PENELEC zone prices, increase gas burns

Houston — Commercial startup Tuesday of the 1,050-MW, natural-gas fired CPV Fairview Energy Center in Pennsylvania occurred several months ahead of schedule, which could offer downside to PJM Interconnection winter power prices and marginal upside to power burn.

Competitive Power Ventures and Osaka Gas developed the $1 billion power plant in Jackson Township near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, that will serve the PJM markets.

CPV Fairview Energy Center and Tyr Hickory Run Energy Station totaling 2.1 GW were expected to come online in the first quarter of 2020 and are currently the only combined-cycle gas turbines expected online in 2020, according to a Monday S&P Global Platts Analytics' research note.

"Our pipeline nomination data indicates that both plants have been undergoing commissioning activities," Platts Analytics said.

The companies' Tuesday announcement regarding CPV Fairview's early startup confirms the observation.

"Thanks to the outstanding team effort with our partner Osaka Gas USA and Kiewit our construction contractor, with General Electric as major equipment supplier, the CPV Fairview Energy Center is now fully operational on budget and significantly ahead of schedule," CPV CEO Gary Lambert said in a statement.

MARKET IMPACT

When operating at full capacity the nameplate heat rate is below 6,500 Btu/kWh, according to Platts Analytics. This heat rate will likely ensure the plant runs at a high capacity factor, offering marginal upside to gas burns in the region and the potential to lower PENELEC zone prices.

Considering the high efficiency and anticipated low gas price, Platts Analytics anticipates CPV Fairview could displace some less efficient gas in the region, but a large portion of the coal-fired generation in PENELEC runs self-scheduled at base load.

"Thus, the ability for CPV Fairview to influence West Hub price outside of the PENELEC zone will largely be contingent upon how much power can be transferred to major load centers located in Eastern PJM and displace more expensive generation in these regions," Platts Analytics said.

CPV Fairview utilizes GE's 7HA.02 gas turbines, a steam turbine, generators and additional controls equipment which are configured to allow the plant to be fueled by a mix of gas and ethane, according to the statement.

The companies said this characteristic makes CPV Fairview "singularly unique among similar power plants."

The plant was built on an 86-acre former brownfield site and is supplied by regionally sourced natural gas and ethane from the TETCO Pipeline system.

-- Jared Anderson, jared.anderson@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com