Ohio’s Energy Investments Positively Impact Communities
Energy projects have a positive ripple effect
Dana Saucier, senior managing director, JobsOhio•Mon May 07 2018
Ohio’s energy sector is growing, largely due to its highly productive Utica shale deposit. This shale growth, coupled with low energy prices, has prompted independent power plant developers and operators to invest billions of private sector money in new state-of-the-art electricity generating plants. The result is an abundance of reliable, low cost and clean electricity, which benefits all businesses and and consumers.
JobsOhio has relationships with companies and resources across the state that benefit economic development efforts. These relationships often bring about company investments that make an impact throughout the state. During projects, JobsOhio maintains an active role by connecting companies with the appropriate resources and decision makers to obtain permits and other regulatory approvals in a timely manner. For fast-growing energy companies, JobsOhio’s involvement helps them get their facilities up and running in accordance with their desired timeframe.
These plants are having a significant positive impact on the communities where they’re located, not only by creating construction jobs and permanent jobs, but also by creating additional tax revenue that can be reinvested in further improving the communities.
When JobsOhio measures jobs created, the numbers reflect only the full-time employees who will work in a facility when it’s operational. The construction process, however, creates hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of high-paying jobs over several years, which creates additional economic benefits to the state and to local communities.
The Lordstown Energy Center in Northwest Ohio, for example, created 1,026 jobs during its 32-month construction period, generating $55.6 million in payroll for each year of construction, for an estimated total of $148.3 million in labor income.
Southwestern Ohio’s Gemma Power Systems LLC employed over 400 skilled craft workers at its site during peak construction of its 475 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant. More than 1 million safe work hours have been accumulated without a lost-time accident since construction began in late 2015.
Nearly 1,000 craftsmen worked more than 2 million man-hours between April 2015 and May 2017 to build the Oregon Clean Energy Power Plant in Northwest Ohio. The project was completed on time and under budget with zero lost-time accidents.
Bechtel Power Corp. in Eastern Ohio began construction of a natural gas-fired power plant, Carroll County Energy, in July 2015. During the two-year construction period, the project created 700 union trade jobs. Even though 3 million man-hours were spent on the job, zero fatalities and zero loss-of-time accidents occurred.
The robust membership of Ohio’s skilled trades combined with strong training programs are integral reasons why these large-scale projects are completed on time, on budget and without lost-time accidents.
The Carroll County Energy facility, which became operational in December 2017, generates 700 megawatts of power – enough to supply 750,000 homes. More important, this natural gas electric generation facility in Northeast Ohio has made it possible for Carrollton Exempted Village Schools to construct a long-desired new school.
The taxes generated by the Carroll County Energy facility will pay the school district $1.3 million annually for 30 years, for a total of $38 million, to help with the cost. The remainder of the money will come from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. This agreement meant the school district could build the school without going to taxpayers with a levy.
The new school, which is scheduled to open for the 2019-2020 school year, will be beneficial in attracting companies and their employees with families to the area.
Ashtabula County in Northeast Ohio lacked access to an adequate supply of natural gas, making it difficult for the area to attract new, and expand existing, businesses. That is expected to change with RH energytrans LLC’s new 28-mile natural gas pipeline, supported in part by $4 million from the JobsOhio Growth Fund.
The Risberg Line, as it will be known, will connect to 32 miles of existing line owned by energytrans’ sister company, Emkey Energy. Initially, natural gas will be received from interstate pipeline sources carrying domestic natural gas. Dominion Energy in Northeast Ohio will be the primary customer of the new line, which will have an initial capacity of 55,000 dekatherms per day.
As a result of this investment, natural gas supply and pressure will flow to an Ohio county that is badly underserved.
It is evident that Ohio’s energy projects have a ripple effect that extends beyond the physical plants and what they yield during operation. They also act as a catalyst in job creation and business attraction. Energy investments are excellent examples of how the projects that JobsOhio supports throughout Ohio often create more jobs and opportunities than the metrics indicate.