CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- Ground was broken in Lycoming County Tuesday for a new natural gas power plant and a lot of the electricity generated is expected to heat homes and businesses in Pennsylvania.
Officials said they plan on using Marcellus Shale to generate electricity to power the community at the new plant that will bring jobs and more money to Central Pennsylvania.
Officials and project leaders broke ground at the future site of the Patriot Generating Station in Clinton Township near Montgomery. It is the second electric power plant in Pennsylvania that will use natural gas from Marcellus Shale. Even though the ground breaking was only held Tuesday, the contractor, Gemma Power, has already done quite a bit of work on the project.
“I would say about 25% complete," said Fred Grasty, Quality Control Manager.
Grasty is from Montgomery. He has been working at the site since December. Officials said there are already 200 people working at the site. That number could increase to 500 before the project is done.
"It's bringing in welders, electricians, piper fitters, and laborers." said Grasty.
Grasty said local people are looking for jobs, "I just hired a guy the other day last week. That's a local Montgomery hand."
"This project here we feel very, very good about it, because it's going to spend an awful lot on real estate taxes, which will be good for our county, our township,” said Bob More.
More sold 86 acres of his property where the power plant is being built. Many in the Montgomery area hope the site will improve their community.
Once construction is complete, gas from the Marcellus Shale will be brought in and help create electricity, which will in turn help power homes, schools, and businesses all across Pennsylvania.
“Produce locally and can be distributed locally," said Greg Snyder from Siemens Energy.
Project leaders said the facility will help power up to a million homes in Pennsylvania and be a boost to the area's economy.
"It will be a long 30, 40, 50 year producer of jobs and supporter of the local community,” said Snyder.
Once up and running, officials said the gas fired power plant could bring up to $5.8 billion to the local economy and create about 30 permanent positions. The construction project is expected to be complete by 2016.