Rolling Hills Generating Station Receives State Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need

Path Open for Construction of Combined-cycle Addition to Plant, Job Creation

Wilkesville, Ohio—The Rolling Hills Generating Station near Wilkesville in Vinton County, Ohio, received a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CECPN) Wednesday from the Ohio Power Siting Board.

Filed in June 2012, the CECPN clears the way for construction to convert the plant from an 850-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fueled peaking electric generating plant that provides electricity to the market in times of peak electricity demand, like extremely hot or cold days, to a 1,414-MW combined-cycle/peaking generating station capable of meeting the energy needs of approximately 1.4 million households. The plant will retain 20 percent of its peaking capacity while converting four of its five electric generating units into combined-cycle systems.

“Receiving the CECPN for the Rolling Hills Generating Station conversion is a major milestone for the project, opening the pathway to eventual construction,” said Jeff James, project manager. “The Ohio Power Siting Board’s approval comes at a good time, when a significant number of coal-fueled power plants are retiring in this region and new sources of clean baseload power with the ability to deliver electricity around the clock are needed to meet consumer demand.”

At combined-cycle electric generating plants, natural gas-fueled combustion turbine-driven generators produce part of the plant’s electrical output. The excess heat from the turbines is used to generate steam, which drives steam turbine-generator sets to produce more electricity. The result is more electricity from the same amount of fuel and reduced emissions on a per-megawatt basis. At Rolling Hills, the excess heat from four of the five existing gas turbine-generator sets would generate steam for two new steam turbine-generator sets.

Rolling Hills is the largest taxpayer in Vinton County Local School District. For 2012, the plant provided approximately $940,000 in support for the school district, Vinton County and Wilkesville Township through a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. Through salaries and payments to vendors, approximately $2.8 million is added to the area economy annually.

“Receiving the CECPN brings the project one major step closer to becoming a reality and providing significant economic benefits and additional jobs to Vinton County area,” James said.

Conversion of the Rolling Hills Generating Station would employ more than 400 construction and trades workers at peak construction. Construction, targeted to begin in 2014, is projected to take 30 months. Rolling Hills would hire a firm to design and construct the plant, and that firm – responsible for hiring construction workers – will be encouraged to hire locally when possible.

Today, Rolling Hills has eight operations employees. The converted facility, expected to be operational as early as 2016, would create approximately 25 additional well-paying, full-time jobs.

A request to interconnect the converted plant with the PJM Interconnection regional electric transmission grid was filed in September 2011. Studies performed by the PJM Interconnection show the converted plant will have no negative effects on the transmission system.