The Lordstown Energy Center at the Lordstown Industrial Park held an open house Wednesday.
Local leaders and school teachers received a crash course in the inner workings of a natural gas power plant.
While the facility only employs about 21 people, it provides energy to 850,000 homes.
“I know they’ve been up and running for a couple weeks and it is a very impressive facility,” said Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill.
The energy plant sits on 16 acres. It uses the newest power plant technology to generate almost 1,000 megawatts of energy and recycles much of its own emissions into more energy using a steam generator.
Lordstown Schools Superintendent Terry Armstrong said when he looks around the high-tech plant he sees jobs for his students.
“As an educator, you just look around thinking how can my students work here one day,” Armstrong said.
Lordstown Energy Center spokesperson Eric Stasiowski said 16 acres for this kind of facility is “a very small footprint,” but the impact on the local economy is big.
“Whether it is more plants and more economic impact or just the idea of science and technology inspiring folks that maybe see this rapport,” Stasiowski said.
The Lordstown School District has already received $1.5 million and a new soccer field from the plant.
“Now that they are here, we will start getting $1 million payments, which we’ve built into our forecast,” Armstrong said.
Local trade workers built the facility and are now both running and maintaining it.
Mayor Hill said local businesses are happy the energy plant is in their community as they face losses created by the reduction in shifts at GM Lordstown.
“Some of them could have had to shut their doors but due to the labor coming in, it makes a difference for the whole community,” Hill said.
With the jobs and money this plant is producing, Mayor Hill says another plant in Lordstown is a possibility in the not so distance future.
“Discussions are going on between developers and the investors and others here about sighting it here in Lordstown as well,” said James Dignan, CEO of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber.