Path Open for Construction to Convert Plant from Peaking to Combined Cycle

WILKESVILLE, Ohio – The Rolling Hills Generating Station near Wilkesville in Vinton County, Ohio, received a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CECPN) Wednesday from the Ohio Power Siting Board.

Filed in June 2012, the CECPN clears the way for construction to convert the plant from an 850-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fueled peaking electric generating plant to a 1,414-MW combined-cycle/peaking generating station capable of meeting the energy needs of approximately 1.4 million households. The plant will retain 20 percent of its peaking capacity, while converting four of its five electric generating units into combined-cycle systems, maintaining flexibility to meet market conditions.

“Receiving the CECPN for the Rolling Hills Generating Station conversion is a major milestone for the project, opening the pathway to eventual construction,” said Jeff James, project manager. “The Ohio Power Siting Board’s approval comes at a good time, when a significant number of coal-fueled power plants are retiring in the region and new sources of clean baseload power are needed to meet consumer demand.”

The CECPN comes on the heels of results from the PJM Interconnection System Impact Study, which found no negative impacts of interconnecting the converted Rolling Hills Generating Station to the regional transmission system. The project’s application is now proceeding through a PJM Interconnection Facilities Study.

James said he was pleased with the development progress on the conversion project.

“We are on schedule for development of a facility that could begin construction as early as 2014 and begin operations as early as 2016, great timing to meet the PJM market’s need for capacity,” James said.

Operating since 2003, Rolling Hills Generating Station presented a unique set of opportunities for the combined-cycle conversion. James cited the plant’s proximity and access to abundant and affordable natural gas supplies in the heart of the Utica and Marcellus shale regions, its history of reliability and its existing plant infrastructure as key factors in the decision to pursue the development.

Conversion would bring significant economic benefits to Ohio and Vinton County, including creating more than 400 jobs at peak construction. The length of the construction project is projected to take 30 months. Today, Rolling Hills has eight operations employees. The converted facility would create approximately 25 additional well-paying, full-time jobs.

Rolling Hills Generating Station was completed in 2003. Since 2008, it has been a private equity investment managed by Tenaska Capital Management, LLC, of Omaha, Neb.