CPV Fairview tour

CPV Fairview Energy Center project manager Jeff Ahrens (foreground) highlights CPV Fairview’s high-tech electric generation capacity for representatives of Grow America’s Infrastructure Now coalition during a tour Monday, July 29, 2019, of the power plant under construction in Jackson Township.

Four years ago, Michael J. Resca visited The Tribune-Democrat and told us about a $900 million energy project he said would bring a significant economic impact to the region.

The CPV Fairview power plant would turn the former Yurasek Salvage Heaven property in Vinco, Jackson Township, into a state-of-the-art operation generating electricity, the vice president of Competitive Power Ventures Inc. predicted.

And the site would become “one of the cleanest power plants in the world,” according to marketing consultant Steven Sullivan, of Power Communications, Sarasota Springs, New York.

Sullivan even said the project’s leaders worked under the radar on key details because they wanted to “have our ducks in a row” before making a public splash.

“Like they say: You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” Sullivan said in June 2015.

Through four years, the project has continued to make a positive impression as its leaders’ predictions are fulfilled.

Ground was broken in 2017 and now an enormous facility will soon be operational.

Project manager Jeff Ahrens gave a tour this week – yet another moment to tout the gas turbine-driven plant’s efficiency and impact, and to celebrate CPV Fairview’s relationship with the Johnstown market.

“We have had 1.8 million hours of union labor on the site,” Ahrens told visitors who included a delegation from Grow America’s Infrastructure Now and The Tribune-Democrat. “It has really helped the economy here. We bring high-paying jobs.

“When we need workers, they come. It’s a great attribute about this labor market.”

Guests from the GAIN group included Craig Stevens, spokesman for the energy department in the George W. Bush administration; Brigham McCown, chairman of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure; Earl Baker, a former state senator and commissioner from Chester County; and others.

McCown said the new plant represents an example of “how Pennsylvania has really come back” – along with a strong natural gas drilling industry and some resurgence in coal.

Ahrens said his company “did almost $15 million cleanup on the site, hauling out 200,000 tons of baby clothes, toilets, all kinds of things” – in turning the former salvage site into new-age energy facility.

The CPV Fairview plant will go online in early 2020 – fulfilling, we’re told, the pledge its leaders made four years ago to create jobs without adding to the region’s history of industry clashing with the environment.

We urge project leaders to remain engaged with the community and to be transparent in their processes to keep the positive energy flowing.

Stevens said: “The 1970s to 1990s were tough on the economy here. To see this kind of development here is really a testament to the turnaround this area has seen.”