The Power Plants Are Booming Too

A lot has been made about the boom in hospital construction over the past month (and for good reason). It’s worth noting that very quietly the energy and power industries have been in the midst of a boom of similar proportions. Work is underway at the new $893 million Hickory Run Energy Center outside New Castle, a combined-cycle power plant being developed by a consortium led by Tyr Energy, with Kiewitt Power Constructors as the EPC. Kiewitt is also the EPC on the CPV 1050MW combined-cycle plant located outside Johnstown, a $700 million gas-fired plant that should be under construction for the next 2 years. Work should wrap up in 2018 on 2 other plants, the $780 million Tenaska Energy project in Westmoreland County and the $900 million Lordstown plant in OH. The Lordstown project is phase one of two. Not far from Lordstown, near Wellsville, a $1.1 billion combined-cycle plant is going through the final planning stages. That plant is known as the South Field Energy Station.

All of these projects are a result of the economics and proximity to the shale gas in the Appalachian region. That plentiful supply is also one of the reasons Shell is building its cracker in Monaca. To meet the ethane demands of the petrochemical industry, midstream developers are underway with 2 more gas processing plants near Burgettstown. Energy Transfer Partners is about a year into the $1.5 billion Revolution plant and MarkWest should soon start construction on the Harmon Creek plant, which should run at least $500 million. While little is written about these projects, the demands for labor are significant. Similar gas processing plants built over the past decade have consumed more than 100 electricians and 200 steamfitters. Those are big numbers in a region with a tight labor market.

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