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West Deptford Power Plant Breaks Ground, Will Be Even Larger

A 400-megawatt expansion is in the works for the 738-megawatt plant.

A year ago, West Deptford Energy’s power plant sailed through final site plan approval as a 640-megawatt generating station.

By the time the company completed financing on the deal in November, it had been bumped up to 738 megawatts.

At the ceremonial groundbreaking Monday, it got even bigger.

Amid congratulations from state and local officials and breathless descriptions of what the plant represents, now that it’s finally come to fruition, LS Power CEO Paul Segal said the final version of the power plant could be more than 50 percent larger than announced just a few months ago, with plans already underway for a 400-megawatt addition.

“Executing on the expansion won’t be easy, but we’re committed to giving it our all,” Segal said.

The enlarged power plant will still be one of the cleanest around, Segal said, claiming it will be on the order of 20 to 100 times cleaner than typical power plants elsewhere in the region.

“When the West Deptford Energy Station begins to generate electricity in 2014, it will be among the most efficient power plants in the country,” Segal said.

The combined-cycle, natural-gas fired plant has been under development by West Deptford Energy and LS Power since 2006, though the history of trying to build a power plant dates back to the 1990s, when the Crown/Vista project sought to bring a coal-fired plant to the same 300-acre parcel of land.

Even without the planned expansion, the new power plant will generate enough electricity to power more than 700,000 homes. Artist’s concept sketches show the twin generating buildings flanked by massive concrete stacks, set against the marshland along the Delaware River.

Gov. Chris Christie hailed the groundbreaking as a sign of good things to come for construction workers and ratepayers in New Jersey, saying it’s key to bring power plants like this one online to help reduce the cost of energy in the state and make New Jersey more self-sufficient.

“We shouldn’t be held hostage to some regional grid,” Christie said.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney lauded Christie for his work in paving the way for the West Deptford Energy Station to happen, and to solving the twin problems of high energy costs and unemployment in one shot.

“It’s not too hard to figure out what’s wrong: It’s jobs, it’s the economy,” Sweeney said.

There are also the benefits to taxpayers via the $107 million Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program, which will be split between the county and West Deptford over 30 years. The township will get the bulk of that, around $96 million, and the company has already made its first $250,000 payment toward that number.

West Deptford Mayor Ray Chintall said there isn’t a firm plan on exactly how the PILOT funds will be spent, since the budget process is ongoing at the moment, but he said the township committee will give a serious look at using the money to accelerate payments on the township’s debt.

Samuel Rickenboch February 09, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Is this the same power plant the republicans were talking about in November that was a pipe dream and never going to happen. Where is Ernie now?
redneckwillie3 February 09, 2012 at 02:37 PM
they said it would create jobs after 2 years what happens to the people that worked on the power plant.plant built= no jobs except for the power plant employees which is about 30 so 620 people will be looking for work again. 30 years from now when the pilot program is done where will the money go then. it will be the cleanest but the generators make a lot of noise. kudos for the republicans getting the power plant to west deptford pity the riverwind residents.ray you're doin a fine job 30 years when the rep are still in office no more debt and have these people that vent on this forum will be in another place
John Cokos June 15, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Hey folks, has ADD kicked in with the Power Plant Project ? This is arguably one of the most problematic of all investment scheme's to come down the pike. I was at all the hearings for Crown Vista and the latter incarnation's, and the math never adds up. For starter's all the rosy projections about job creation are Voodoo Economics at best. Company's like LS Power will more that likely bring in their own crews of non-labor worker's from outside the state for the construction site. In spite of all the special interest pollyanna hoopla to the contrary, this will not be the job's creation windfall bill of goods that it's presented to be. These Plants are state of the art, contained and automated to the point that they can be operated with just a literal handful of specialized, highly trained workers. I could go on ad nauseum on the subject, but Energy Generation is not the most stable of markets to hang you hat on. The energy generated is in no way earmarked fort local consumption, and is put on the market to the highest bidder. It's a commodity pure and simple, and sold to where it gets the most return for the investment.....

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