Natural gas power plant planned for Salem Twp.

Author: Elizabeth Skrapits

Source: The Times Tribune

SALEM TWP. – In 1979, the year he graduated from Berwick High School, John Gordner witnessed a multimillion-dollar power plant, the PPL Susquehanna Stream nuclear facility, being constructed just across the county border.

“We saw the impact of that once-in-a-lifetime project,” said Mr. Gordner, now a state senator, at a site just down the road from the nuclear plant, now owned by Talen Energy.

The facility created jobs and spurred economic growth, not just for Salem Twp., but the entire region, he said. And on Thursday, he was among state and local officials who gathered to break ground for another power plant, Moxie Freedom, which will use natural gas exclusively from the Marcellus Shale.

“We’re lucky enough some 35 years later to have lightning strike twice, with another $1 billion project,” Mr. Gordner said.

Ross Ain, executive vice president of New York-based Caithness Energy, an independent power producer that is partnering with Moxie Energy LLC, said that the Moxie Freedom plant will produce more than 1,000 megawatts of energy, or enough to power about 900,000 homes throughout the region.

During the 34-month construction period, Mr. Ain estimates there will be an average of 250 jobs, and a payroll of more than $80 million.

When built, the facility should provide around 25 to 27 permanent jobs, according to testimony at a hearing over the summer.

Gemma Power Systems LLC will build the plant on a 150-acre parcel in an industrial zone on Mingle Inn Road, off Route 11. South Jersey Resources, a Texas-based natural gas marketing company, is also involved in the project.

State Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116, Butler Twp., credited Salem Twp. Officials for being “extremely business friendly.”

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