As the nation’s second-largest natural gas producing state, Pennsylvania is at the heart of the energy infrastructure boom.
The construction of more pipeline infrastructure could have an immense economic impact on the commonwealth, but only because of the crucial infrastructure currently being built that will move these resources to market.
As the old adage goes, “if you build it, they will come,” and that is precisely what we are seeing with Competitive Power Venture (CPV) Fairview Energy Center in Jackson Township, Cambria County.
During a recent tour of the facility, I was given a firsthand look at how the $1.1 billion natural gas-fueled combined-cycle electric generation will utilize Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission and Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipelines to bring reliable, economical and environmentally safe energy to the state.
The state-of-the-art energy center will generate 1,050 megawatts of electricity from turbines powered by natural gas and ethane, a liquid extracted with natural gas and delivered specifically through the Mariner East 2 connection.
Once the project is finished, it will help to power the equivalent of more than 1 million homes and businesses.
CPV Fairview picked the Jackson Township location specifically because of the proximity to energy infrastructure such as electric transmission lines and natural gas pipelines – elements that are critical to helping the company reach its electricity goals.
The plant will depend on Mariner East to provide ethane for power generation.
Without the incredible development of the energy sector in Pennsylvania, this impressive facility could not have been possible.
The Marcellus and Utica shale formations have some of the most promising natural gas potential in the United States. According to a report by the Colorado School of Mines’ Potential Gas Committee, the area has 1,047 trillion cubic feet of potential, making up more than a third of the 3,100 trillion cubic feet that could be recoverable across the nation.
That potential could mean huge economic implications for the commonwealth and the country as a whole.
Tapping into those natural resources already in the region is the most cost-effective way of getting this vital energy to consumers.
Before the plant is even up and running, it is already bringing significant benefits to the state.
First, by helping to make Pennsylvania cleaner. CPV Fairview is being built on a former industrial dump and junkyard site. Before cleanup began, there was 200,000 tons of junk piled 25 feet high, an eyesore to the local community. The company invested $14 million dollars just to get rid of the garbage before construction began on the site.
The soon-to-open plant is also helping spur the job market, employing as many as 500 workers during the construction process. When the facility finally opens, it will employ 25 full-time residents with a payroll of about $3 million.
To realize and access the full potential of energy, we need an infrastructure that can keep up with demand. With a robust oil and gas industry, consumers will see lower utility costs and a growing workforce. Right now, the state-of-the-art energy center is slated to open in 2019.
With all of these promising investments, Pennsylvania could boost America’s energy sector, making it a super power. And building up our energy sector is not only an investment in infrastructure, but also in our future.
Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon of Louisiana served on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversaw energy policy and environmental quality, and played an integral role in rebuilding Louisiana’s infrastructure following hurricanes Katrina and Rita.