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Developers Push Action on Two Maryland Powerplants But Delay a Third

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A Maryland environmental agency and the state's Public Service Commission staff have recommended the once problem-plagued 755-MW Keys Energy Center be built near Brandywine in Prince George’s County.

The natural-gas-fired plant was first proposed in 2012 as a 735-MW unit that would use recycled water for cooling. Problems siting the water line and the natural-gas pipeline delayed the project.

Developer Genesis Power resolved the pipeline issues last spring in an agreement with Pepco to follow Pepco's right-of-way for most of the route. The firm also fixed the cooling issues by changing the unit to include an air-cooled system, says President Robert Place.

In testimony earlier this month, Ralph De Geeter, PSC generation and transmission engineer, recommended project construction as a beneficial generating resource for Maryland. The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources also approved it.

The project cleared the PJM Interconnection capacity auction held in May and will begin providing power in June 2017. A project dollar value could not be obtained.

Energy Investors Funds, a private equity fund, has the option to provide all the equity necessary to build the Keys Energy Center, according to Genesis Power’s website. A subsidiary would develop, own and operate the plant.

A hearing on the project is set for Aug. 28, with regulator approvals not expected until the end of  October. The project will take 33 to 36 months to complete once construction begins, according to Place. Details on the project contractor were not disclosed.

The company had hoped to begin construction by late summer, he said.

Court Action

Separately, Competitive Power Ventures is moving ahead with its 725-MW natural-gas-fired plant in Charles County on a partially contracted merchant basis, despite an appellate court decision earlier this month upholding a lower-court ruling that its power pricing plan was unconstitutional.

CPV has asked the court of appeals for an en banc review of the three-judge panel’s decision, Braith Kelly, senior vice president at CPV, said in an interview.

“We’re moving ahead based on partially contracted merchant financing,” he said. The company has contracted with counter parties for a portion of the output, but Kelly did not give details.

CPV has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to allow Japanese companies Toyota Tsusho Power and Marubeni Corp. to acquire 75% of the project, which was valued at about $500 million in a 2012 announcement.

CPV asked for an authorization no later than July 22 to allow for a closing of the transaction soon after.

SNC-Lavalin, Montreal, is the project's EPC contractor, according to developer officials.

Pushing Back

Meanwhile, Panda Power will delay by a year the in-service date of the 859-MW Mattawoman gas-fired unit, also in Brandywine, the company said in a July 7 PSC filing.

The company now expects commercial operations for the estimated $475-million project to begin in the second quarter of 2018, said Steven Tessman, vice president of Panda Power Funds, in testimony.

Earlier this year, the company had asked for expedited PSC approval, but Pepco would not commit to an interconnection service agreement and seeks a new transmission configuration.

A revised facilities study report will be issued in September, Tessman said.

Panda Power Funds, formed to invest in natural gas and solar generation, has focused on the Mattawoman project because of the expected tightening of regional capacity caused by coal-plant retirements.

No contractor has been selected yet, according to a developer spokesman.



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