Company announces it’s ending Lordstown gas-to-power energy project

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Clean Energy Future said House Bill 6, which provides subsidies for the nuclear power industry, is the reason it decided to end the project

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Clean Energy Future announced Tuesday it wouldn’t build a third gas-powered electric plant in Lordstown.

When the Ohio legislature was debating the bailout of Ohio’s nuclear power plants, officials with Clean Energy Future warned it could lead to new investment leaving the state. On Tuesday, that warning became reality.

Outside of Lordstown’s Clean Energy Future plant, you can hear the sound of electricity being produced.

A second plant is scheduled to be built next door but it’s the third plant — possibly planned for an area along Salt Springs Road — that won’t be built after all.

“Seeing this get canned, basically, it’s tough to take,” said Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill.

Hill said Clean Energy Future never officially approached him about building a third plant.

“I knew there was talk of a third plant.”

The company said it was a “termination of its efforts” for the third plant.

The planning for the $1.1 billion project started last year. Already, the company spent over $1 million on prior development and permitting costs.

Clean Energy Future President Bill Siderewicz cited benefits the Youngstown area will lose because the plant isn’t happening:

-$1.1 billion construction project
– $150 million in water purchases from Youngstown
– $300 million in property and income taxes
– $29 billion in economic benefits over 50 years

Siderewicz said he made the decision when the Ohio legislature and Governor Mike DeWine placed a fee on all of Ohio’s electric customers, with the money going to First Energy to renovate its nuclear power plants.

“I find it deeply painful not to be able to help boost the region’s growth due to political forces that exist in Ohio,” Siderewicz said.

“If we don’t get some jobs in the area to help keep the younger people here, who’s going to pay the bills?” Hill questioned.

There is an effort to put the issue of bailing out First Energy and its nuclear plants on the Ohio ballot, possibly in November 2020.

The Ohio attorney general rejected the first referendum submitted, citing 21 errors.

Hill said the group pushing for a ballot issue plans to correct the errors and try again.

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